The Entrepreneurial Practices of Becoming a Doll


Living dolls celebrities/ of the ‘Barbie flu’:

  • Post-Soviet (Russia and Ukraine mainly) – Olga Oleynik, Anzhelika Kenova, Valeria Lukyanova, Alina Kovalevskaya, Anastasiya Shpagina
  • America – Dakota Rose
  • Britain – Venus Angelic


In order to become a living doll, you will need:

  • Strong makeup skills, rimmed contact lenses and hair extensions;
  • Photo editing skills – Photoshop;
  • Surgery – rib removal, breast implants, eye widening.


How to become famous:

  • Good knowledge about social networks – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.;
  • Promote YouTube makeup tutorials;
  • Marketing e.g. tagging, sharing, comments, meme;
  • Create own-branded makeup/ rimmed contact lenses.


  • Contradictory representation of femininity;
  • The ‘enterprising self – both an active self and a calculating self’;
  • Subverting traditional femininity from passive to active;
  • Hyper-feminine appearance;
  • Sexual objectification.

New gender constructs: ‘dowdy’ farmer’s wife -> would-be brides/ living dolls.

Transnational postfeminism femininity morphs as it colonises new space by incorporating local understandings that make it more attractive.



Anime girl: The fluid brand
  • Transnational entrepreneurial femininity – post-Soviet, Western and East Asian;
  • Self-as-commerce-and-commodity;
  • Body is where economic potential is located;
  • Mix traits of cuteness, passivity and innocence with feminine appearance work.


Imitation of doll femininity:

  • In Western context is could be understood as infantilizing;
  • In pre-feminist femininity – a patriarchal order is troubled through complex gender ideologies;
  • In current feminine celebrity culture – carefully stylised beauty practices to produce a sexually attractive appearance;
  • In between the binary of real and unreal – this aesthetic labour is neither ‘true doll’, nor ‘real human’ (zombie-femininity).


Transnational postfeminist aesthetic labour


Exceptional transformational beauty practices:

  • New modes of celebrity;
  • Hybrid form of cultural expression;
  • Feminine expectations for passivity;
  • Cuteness and beauty-body work;
  • Practices of freedom through social and global mobility.


Self-made feminine subject, where the body has become a market of achievement, identity and mobility.




Aesthetic Labour. Rethinking Beauty Politics in Neoliberalism,

Edited by: Ana Sofia Elias, Rosalind Gill and Christina Scharff

One thought on “Aesthetic Labour or the ‘Barbie flu’

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