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Friday, April 12, 2013

Time to gripe: Dolls of the World under attack

Recently Mattel has revived its lovely and popular line entitled Dolls of the World.  For those of you who have been living under a rock, or who don't focus your collections on Barbie, the Dolls of the World (hereafter referred to as DOTW) are Barbie dolls that represent various world countries.  Some of the countries are pretty obvious (France, Germany, and Italy), while some are more...well, they're not the countries you would've pictured Barbie visiting, but beautiful nonetheless (the Philippines, Thailand, Peru).  The line dates back to 1980, took a hiatus, and then recently came back with a smattering of new dolls.  And of course, someone decides to cause trouble.

Where does the trouble lie?  It's not among the camps usually guilty of throwing Barbie-related tantrums; parents appear happy and feminists have kept their big fat mouths shut this time around.  No...the flack lies with THIS DOLL!!!

"What's wrong with her?" you ask.  "She's a pretty doll in a pink dress with a cute little chihuahua."  She looks pretty harmless, doesn't she?  Well...not if you're a nitpicker, she's not!  Here it is one solid year after Mexican Barbie's release, and she's being pegged as racist.  That's right, racist.  Some folks are ticked that the doll is carrying a chihuahua; some nobody named Jennifer Morales tweeted that she should be carrying a taco instead of a dog, "just to be really clear."  Stay classy, Jen; that comment is even more stereotypical than Barbie's little pooch.  Adriana Velez at CafeMom.com finds a laundry list of things to gripe about, including Barbie's dress.  She whines and moans at length about how it's inauthentic.  Okay, I'll concede that one...the darned thing is HOT PINK, for cripe's sake!  Why, oh why, must pink be Barbie's color of choice?  Why couldn't it have been green or blue or GOLD?  But hating the color of the dress is my problem, and it's hardly a racial issue.  Is lack of authenticity really a huge issue?  If you need some help deciding, check out France Barbie and Holland Barbie.  Are their costumes authentic to the countries they represent?  No, not really.  But is that really a racial issue?  

Moving right along, the thing that has the most people up in arms is the inclusion of A PASSPORT!!!  That's right, a passport...you know, that thing that Barbie couldn't cross country boarders without.  Mexican Barbie has one.  Another face in the crowd named Savannah Lime tweets "she doesn't want to be deported!"  Our touchy friend Adriana Velez is also up in arms about this.  Given the current debate about illegal immigrants and what should be done about them (which frankly shouldn't be an issue), a Mexican Barbie with a passport seems almost like a political statement.  

BUT...our overly PC friends at Twitter and CafePress.com fail to see two things.  One, all of the current DOTW dolls come with passports; Mexican, French, Irish, Dutch, all of them.  If you want proof, meet my Irish DOTW doll, Maeve.

Maeve's outfit isn't the most authentic, by the way...I don't think I've EVER seen an Irish girl dressed quite like that.  But that's beside the point.  Here is Maeve's passport:

Unlike DOTW dolls of years gone by, these dolls come with stickers packaged inside the passport to make kids happy, and Maeve is no exception.  This allows kids to take some artistic liberties with their passports.  Now...is that really all that racist?  Or is it just AUTHENTIC???  Blogger Laura Martinez seems to think the former; she hates the idea of passports with all dolls!  C'mon, folks, you can't travel abroad without that sucker!  You can't even make it to Canada without it; Nik Wallenda wouldn't have been able to cross Niagara Falls on that tightrope if he hadn't had his passport!  It's a little thing called COMMON SENSE!!!

And I haven't even touched on point number two.  Remember when I said that all of these dolls came with passports?  What if they DIDN'T have passports?  What if Mexican Barbie (and all the DOTW dolls) came without papers?  What would you prefer, a Mexican doll with papers or one without?  I wonder if passport-hating Laura Martinez thought of that!  Frankly I think including passports with these dolls was a smart move.  

Folks, this is getting to the point of ridiculous.  Kids can't have something to enjoy anymore without someone having a fit.  Katniss Everdeen has a bow and arrows?  Let's have a boycott!  Tokidoki Barbie has a tattoo?  Let's raise a stink!  Barbie's box is made of cardboard?  Let's lie and say that cardboard was made from Indonesian timber.  Barbie wears a fake fur coat?  Oh heck, no...call PETA!!!  Mexican Barbie has a passport?  Ooo-wee, that's racist!  What next?  Will dolls with hair be considered offensive to people without?  Oh wait...they have.  Seriously, folks...Barbie's just a toy!  Whatever happened to the days when Mom and Dad decided what their children played with, but didn't try to ruin the fun for everyone else?  I don't know about you, but all the controversy has prompted me to search out a Mexican Barbie for my own collection.  I was originally apathetic about her; my ancestry is European and Celtic, with no Mexican blood at all.  However, I love causing a stir, and I love being ornery.  AND I love thumbing my nose at overly-PC fools like Adriana Velez.  Miss Velez, if I were you I'd be pleased that Mattel even thought to represent Mexico at all.  They could just as easily have overlooked Mexico and chosen another country that hasn't been represented, like Guatamala or Samoa.  Instead of getting your panties in a wad, I suggest that you chew that thought over.  

Yours Truly,