“As a huge Selena fan and Barbie collector, we want Mattel to create an official Selena doll in her likeness. There has yet to be any curvy Hispanic barbie dolls in any Barbie line and we think Selena is a perfect candidate for that kind of representation,” says Remy. I mean, yes!
Mexico’s famed Día de Muertos celebrations are coming up, the time of year when families honor their dead relatives with ofrendas, parades, visits to cemeteries, and many other festivities.
And, of course, Barbie wasn’t going to miss out on the celebrations.
Mattel – which makes Barbie – has just launched a new Barbie Catrina that is much more festive and colorful than the first one last year, who was dressed in black.
On this occasion, Mattel worked with Mexican-American designer Javier Meabe who wanted to reflect the joy and deep-rooted traditions of the country.
“As a Mexican-American designer, it was important for me to use my creative voice to design a doll that celebrates the bright colors and vivid textures of my culture, as well as the traditions I grew up with that are represented and celebrated in Barbie,” Meaba said in a statement from Mattel.
Although, Mattel has enlisted the designs of a Mexican-American designer, not everyone is pleased with the launch. Some are worried that the entire Día de Muertos collection is potentially watering down a 3,000-year-old tradition and are accusing Barbie of cultural appropriation.
Barbie is releasing its second Día de Muertos doll and it’s generating plenty of buzz.
For the second year in a row, Mattel is launching a Día de Muertos Barbie modeled after the traditions of Mexico’s famed celebrations.
“We often look at different ways to continue to engage girls and families to gain knowledge and celebrate other cultures and other parts of the world,” Michelle Chidoni, a spokeswoman for the company, said. “Our hope is for this Día de Muertos Barbie to honor the holiday for the millions that celebrate and to introduce people not familiar with the tradition to the rich meaning.”
This year’s doll was designed by Mexican American designer Javier Meabe who was inspired by his personal background and family traditions.
“It was very important that the second Dia De Muertos doll felt just as special as the first in the Barbie series,” said Meabe in a statement. “As a Mexican American Designer, it was important to me to use my creative voice to design a doll that celebrates the bright colors and vivid textures of my culture, as well, as have the traditions I grew up with represented and celebrated in Barbie.”
He continued, “For this doll, I was inspired by the color gold seen throughout Mexican culture, jewelry, buildings, statues and artwork and highlighted it throughout the design. The roses represent emotions and moments in life including celebrations, birth, death, passion, and love and I also was inspired to introduce new textures and a new dress silhouette.”
Barbie lovers can buy the doll for $75 on the company’s website or at mass retailers such as Amazon, Target and Walmart.
Last year marked the first time Barbie celebrated the iconic Mexican holiday.
Last year, Mattel released the first Barbie doll celebrating the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), and it was a huge hit. The floral dress and headpiece on the doll combined with the traditional calavara makeup design was absolutely stunning, and the same can be said about the 2020 version that just launched.
This time around, the Barbie Dia de Muertos doll features a light, blush-colored lace dress over a layer embroidered with floral and skeleton accents. The intricacy of the makeup has been taken up a notch, and the “golden highlights in her hair shimmer beneath a crown of skeleton hands holding roses and marigolds.”
However, since last year many have been questioning the intentions of Barbie and whether or not this is a good move.
In Mexican culture, the Día de Muertos — or Day of the Dead — is when the gateway between the living and the dead is said to open, a holiday during which the living honor and pay respects to loved ones who have died.
The new Día de Muertos Barbie was intended less as a portal into the realm of the dead and more as a gateway into Mexican culture. At least that is what Mattel is hoping for.
However, not everyone agrees. Latinx Twitter has lit up with both excitement and anger, with some folks appreciating the design while others are calling Mattel out for cultural appropriation. The Día de Muertos doll is another way Latinx culture is slowly entering the mainstream. With acclaimed shows like Vida and One Day at a Time and movies like Coco and Roma winning accolades — it seems even a toy company is looking to capitalize on Latinx culture
As first responders continue to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s no denying that the little people in their lives have been deeply affected. With their parents being called away from them, children of first responders are being forced to endure the stresses that come with parents who risk daily exposure to the disease that has already killed 298K people worldwide.
In an effort to show support for these frontlines workers and their family members, the company behind the Barbie doll (Mattel) has created a new initiative.
On Wednesday, Mattel announced that it had launched its #ThankYouHeroes Barbie program.
The new initiative will work to donate a doll to the First Responders Children’s Foundation for every career doll sold between May 14-17. The line of dolls that are part of the initiative will spotlight “everyday heroes supporting the community.” The lines feature a number of essential professions from nurses and firefighters to doctors and food service employees.
According to People, “Up to 30,000 dolls will be donated to the foundation, which was established in 2002 as a way to financially support children who have lost a parent in the line of duty or are currently experiencing financial hardships, according to their website.”
In a press release, addressing the new dolls, the SVP and global head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel, Lisa McKnight explained “As Barbie has always highlighted role models to inspire the limitless potential in the next generation, we are proud to launch a program celebrating the real-life heroes working on the front lines and supporting their families through the First Responders Children’s Foundation… We know this generation is hyper-aware of what is happening right now as they chalk sidewalks, make signs, and lean out windows to cheer each night to thank our front-line workers. We want to do our part to give back and inspire today’s kids to take after these heroes one day.”
In a separate statement, Jillian Crane (the president of First Responders Children’s Foundation) explained that the program is meant to bring happiness to the children of first responders.
The program comes at “a time when [the first responders’] children are in need of a little joy in their lives,” Crane explained. “There’s no doubt that first responders on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic are sacrificing so much to protect our families, and it’s our responsibility as a nation to help them through this crisis by providing grants, scholarships, and partnerships such as our program with Mattel that encourages consumers to support these efforts with the buy a doll, donate a doll program that benefits first responder families.”
On top of all of this, Mattel is also using its resources to contribute to COVID-19 efforts.
Besides the Barbie doll program, Mattel has already produced 500,000 face shields and masks for medical professionals. They are also working to donate non-profit partners, such as Baby2Baby, Feed the Children, and UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.