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What Barbie Looks Like When She’s Battling Aliens, Taking Nude Rides On Dragons, And Getting Zombified

Barbie, toy industry icon and feminist nightmare, celebrated her 55th birthday this year. She has gone through many incarnations–babysitter, student teacher, astronaut, faerie queen, roller-blading aficionado.

Here are some Barbies you probably won’t see on store shelves: zombie Snow White Barbie, alien-toting Barbie, cat-in-crotch Barbie, nude dragon-riding Barbie. All of these Barbies could be found at the annual Altered Barbie exhibit in San Francisco, where the tiny sub-genre of Barbie art reigns.

There are two types of art at Altered Barbie. There are the pieces that use Barbie and all the feelings we project onto her as a means of telling a story about, say, gays in the military, religion, or sex. And then there are those that that just use Barbie as a raw material. In general, the storytelling pieces tend to be more fun, and in some cases, more horrifying (see: dead Barbie who has just been killed by terrorists). Much of the artwork is not really appropriate for kids, though I did see plenty of them at the Altered Barbie closing night party .

If there’s one thing to take away from Altered Barbie, it’s this: Barbie may be getting on in years, but she still has a firm grip on the American psyche. Check out the Altered Barbie pieces that are currently for sale here.AS