There's a new Barbie doll in town, and she's an outrage. Have you seen this? It's Mexico Barbie, and get this: She comes with a freakin' passport! Like she needs to prove she's not an illegal. Sinvergüenza, Mattel. That is so offensive. As a Mexican American, I am hereby boycotting Barbie dolls forever, which will be easy because I don't have any daughters. But still!
Oh wait. This just in: Mexico Barbie is part of the Dolls of the World series. And they all have passports -- even the blond one from Holland. Well all right, fine. But now that I've seen the series, I still kind of hate all of these dolls. Can't we do better for our girls?
Let's just start with Mexico Barbie. If you really have to do the old-fashioned, traditional dress, why not at least make it accurate? She should have braids woven through with ribbons. She could have a white blouse with colorful embroidery and a woven shawl. Hell, they could have just called up a photo of the most iconic Mexican ever, Frida Kahlo, and copied the look. Instead they gave her some vague pink thing with ruffles. Like, "Mexico, whatevs, add a purple ribbon."
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And then the Chihuahua dog -- what a cliche! Sure, they're super cute. But why not actually let the kids LEARN something new and introduce the Xoloitzcuintli, also known as the Mexican hairless dog. Or, you know, skip the exotic animals and do something else, like a Mexican bass guitar.
Do you see what a missed opportunity this is? And the other dolls aren't much better. France Barbie is in some sort of ooh la la Parisian beret and 1950s leotard with an inexplicable gingham skirt from Brittany, I guess (her accessory is bread). WTF? Why are Argentina and Chile Barbies blonde? That's a politically touchy issue throughout Latin America. India Barbie has a freakin' monkey.
Okay, I know Barbie isn't trying to be a high-end historical doll maker like American Girl. But these international dolls just make me sad. It's like -- if you want an inexpensive doll, you have to also settle for a dumbed-down doll. Here's your cultural stereotypes, girls!
It matters to me because I grew up in suburban Colorado as an "other" -- a Mexican-American. And I've lived with all the cultural stereotypes that come with that. I think our girls deserve better. Mexican-American girls deserve a doll that makes them feel proud about their heritage, and all girls deserve dolls that enlighten them, not that talk down to them with this half-assed ethnic tourism. I mean really, why even bother?
What do you think of Mexico Barbie?
Image via BarbieCollector.com