Mattel has re-launched its “Dolls of the World Collection,” the first new line since 1980, representing a variety of diverse countries, including several from Latin America. All dolls carry passports and country stickers, but the Mexican Barbie and her travel accessories have ignited a firestorm. The doll is outfitted in a pink, ruffled dress and comes with a Chihuahua and a passport.
“Girls enjoy exploring the world and learning about different cultures through play,” Sara Rosales, a Mattel spokeswoman, told Fox News Latino. “The Barbie brand understands the significance of introducing new cultures to girls in a relatable way.”
Rosales said the company conducted research to create dolls “that celebrate both the country’s heritage and culture.”
“It would be nice to see some contemporary images from these countries,” Felix Sanchez, chairman and co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, told Fox News Latino. “These images seem very dated and seem to have been created for a different time.”
Mattel stuck by the decision with a statement on its website:
Each doll wears an ensemble inspired by the traditional costume and fashion of the country. In 2012, the Barbie Collector Dolls of the World line launched dolls from Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, Holland India, Ireland and Mexico. Every doll in the current line includes a ‘passport’ and stamps as well as an animal friend providing additional play value.
We consulted with the Mexican Embassy on the Dolls of the World Mexico Barbie, especially with respect to the selection of the Chihuahua. Our goal with the Dolls of the World Mexico Barbie, as well as the entire Dolls of the World Collection, is to celebrate cultural differences and tradition, introducing girls to the world through play.
“It sounds to me like Mattel took some shortcuts,” Jason Ruiz, a professor of American studies at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind., told ABC News. “The bright pink ribbons? A Chihuahua? That kind of stuff is so easy to use.”
Ruiz said the passport isn’t particularly offensive, but that it can be a point of contention, especially for Mexican immigrants. “Papers decide everything for immigrants from Mexico,” he said.
But an ABC video announcer took a decidedly sarcastic turn.
“She may be dressed in traditional garb, but back off Jan Brewer,” the announcer says in the video below. “Here she is, documentation, passport and all.”
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