Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The No. 10 "Scandal"

Barbie Fashionista Glam, originally uploaded by alington.
I think I first read about the scandal on a doll blog this morning (and of course, I can't remember which), and it was all over Twitter. If you read about Barbie on the web, I'm sure you've heard of the latest Barbie "scandal" involving the gorgeous Basic Barbie No. 10, who is considered "too busty" for younger girls.

When I saw the original interviews (and the "extensive" one minute 25 second story), I noticed several things:
  1. The reporter of the story is comparing collector dolls designed for adults (Barbie Basics) to playline dolls. It occurs to me that the general public perhaps really doesn't know there is a difference. Would a mother really buy her daughter a $20 doll dressed only in a black dress and shoes? 
  2. The first woman who is interviewed is wearing a deep v-necked shirt, which is quite flattering for her figure. While she isn't quite as perky as the Barbie, it's still fairly low cut. I wonder if she realizes that her wardrobe choices possibly minimizes the importance her complaint about the doll.
  3. Then, when the woman holds up the "right kind" of doll, she displays an older style Doll of the World Barbie, who is dressed in traditional costume. This is one type of collector doll which included world heritage costumes. Barbie Basics are fashion models, and they are fashion dolls. They shouldn't be wearing ruffles, turtlenecks and full-length gowns, because, even this woman's own wardrobe reflects, this is not what current fashion dictates.
  4. The second woman discusses the idea of introducing age-appropriate Barbies to her girls, and is fascinated by "middle-aged adult women" who pay "up to $100" for a doll. This sort of points out an extreme lack of awareness in the public of doll collectors. Check out Mattel's press release of the most expensive Barbie by Canturi, which was valued at over $545,000 for more on this subject.
  5. Finally, the doll in question is a black doll. Both women interviewed in the story are white. In the women's homes, I only saw white dolls. This doesn't mean that they don't have any non-white dolls, of course. But I wonder if the underlying source of this "wardrobe complaint" wasn't really rooted in something more subversive. One of the things I really like about the Barbie Basics line is the dolls' diversity. I was impressed with the variety of sculpts and skin tones that Mattel usually doesn't tackle very well. It seems to me that racism is very deeply rooted in our society, and if Mattel will fight this tooth and nail to keep this gorgeous doll on the shelf, I think that's one more tiny step towards progress.
Finally, I have to speak out as a mother of four children. Seriously now, when I take my children to Target, here is my experience:
  • Yes, they ask for toys. But I do not buy them every toy in the store, nor do I buy them everything they want. 
  • Yes, they often want age-inappropriate toys. But I did not buy them toys with small pieces before they were three, and I still do not allow M-rated video games in the house.
  • And no, the toys do not jump off the shelves into my cart without my knowledge. (Well, if I am alone, that might happen, especially at Target, since it can go under the "household" category in Quicken. But it's more like a case of my right hand not knowing what my left hand is doing.)
So if you don't like it, you'll be relieved to know that you don't have to buy it! It's as simple as that. Get over it. It's a doll. I'm just amazed at what passes as news. Isn't there anything more interesting to report? Though heck, it does make for an interesting blog post. ;)


  1. Really loved your points. I also can't figure out how and why ppl still think that all the Barbies are for kids! Or all the dolls or all cartoons and animes. Ppl should learn the differences and not make any more stupid comparisons. And the part with the comparison with a DOTW is REALLY STUPID! :))

  2. I just bought this barbie for my sisters (sisterscollectors.blogspot). I personally don't think that little girls pay attention to barbies bs, I did not even noticed she was bustier (lol) I grew up playing with much bustier barbies andit wasn't a problem. There are some natural bustier girls in real life too. By the way I am from CAli too :) great blog
    I will check out the quilting ones...

  3. The doll from the picture I meant I bought. Not the one in question

  4. Great to hear you like the blog(s). I saw your comment on the Fashion Doll Review, too. I checked out your blog this morning--that grapefruit tea thing looks amazing. (That's your blog, right?) LOVE it. :)


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