UPDATE: April 17, 2013- Mattel has pulled the Mexico Doll from it’s website. Looks like you can still buy on Amazon and ebay from private sellers. Sad that it has come to this, and I hope this doesn’t stop Mattel, or any other company from diversifying their toys.
I’m a half Mexican, half Peruvian first generation Latina. My daughter is a beautiful blend of many countries (my husband is Irish, Welsh and German) and we had decided early on, once she started school, we would begin to teach her about all the cultures that she is a part of. A couple days ago, a friend of mine posted a piece she wrote about the Mexican Barbie from the “Dolls of the World” Collection. I have actually owned this doll for about six months, a gift from an event my friend put together. In fact, since it was a friend of mine that put it together, I got to choose which doll I wanted to take home to my daughter. The selections were Chile, Mexico, Holland, the Philippines, Spain, India, China and France. I immediately grabbed the Mexican Barbie doll.
When I initially saw the doll, I thought- I can use this to begin to introduce another piece of my heritage to my daughter. I didn’t think anything about the passport that was included (because ALL the Dolls of The World carried one), nor did I think about the Chihuahua that came with her. In fact, I found it no more offensive than the Hawaii U.S.A. Doll who came with a turtle or the France Dolls Of The World carrying baguettes.
The dolls are not meant to be a depiction of a culture, but rather, a way to begin to introduce other cultures and countries to young children. It’s a beginning of a topic, not the entire thesis. I actually applaud Mattel for trying to open the conversation between parents and their children not just about one culture, but many. Critics are attacking this as if they had never seen it before, though this is technically Mattel’s fourth Mexican doll. They also had Mexican Barbie in 1989, Mexican Barbie 2nd Edition in 1996, and Cinco de Mayo Barbie in 2006.
If we keep attacking every time a brand or product tries to take a step forward in acknowledging that Latinos are a blend of many countries and cultures, I’m afraid, they will stop taking any steps at all.
Do you find the Mexican Barbie Offensive?
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