It was announced earlier this month that Mattel had commissioned New York designers The Blonds to create a Barbie, quickly dubbed by the media as “drag queen Barbie.” That’s because Blond Diamond Barbie (as she’s formally called) bears a striking resemblance to Phillipe Blond’s drag persona. Mattel isn’t mad about the mistake, but they did want to clarify that this year’s collector’s Barbie is all woman. They told The Daily Beast, “That the doll would become so widely known as “Drag Queen Barbie” was not expected. The term was both created by and incorrectly perpetuated by members of the press.”
Cathy Cline, vice president of marketing in the U.S. for Mattel’s girls’ brands, went so far as to speak on behalf of (and personify) Barbie, telling The New York Times, “Barbie doesn’t worry about what other people think.” That’s right – speculate all you want about whether or not there’s a penis under that diamond dress! Barbie is unfazed.
Of course some conservative parents groups breathed a sigh of relief when they discovered this Barbie is not meant to be a man in a dress. David Caton, founder of the Florida Family Association, told The Daily Beast, “What parent in their right mind is going to buy their child a drag queen doll?” (Raises hand.) “The doll may sell well among the transmo market, but will skid in the family market,” Caton continued. Transmo? Dear God. I’ve been pretty heavily steeped in gay culture for many years now and I have never until today seen or heard the word “transmo.”
But speaking of the gay community – The Daily Beast notes that Barbie has long been revered as a gay icon, and everyone involved projects that this speculation about Barbie having boy parts will only help to drive sales. Phillipe Blond describes her as “beautiful” and says “Other dolls can’t compare.” Or compete with those killer lashes! Yowza!