Monday, November 2, 2009

A "Black" Barbie?

A couple of weeks ago, Mattel released three new Black Barbies. These Barbies were a toy that has long been called for by American society, but looking at these dolls there was some confusion. I don't think we were the only ones to notice the slight touches to whiten these dolls, one has green eyes, the other is with a child that has very light skin and all have wavy or straight hair. This is not to say that there are no African Americans with such features, but one would expect these dolls to authentically represent Black culture and heritage, in what it seems would be the more dominate depiction of a Black female. The hair issue bugs us, tying into the whole "Good Hair" Chris Rock movie, Mattel couldn't even give these dolls real curls.

Overall these dolls are not terrible, they do a good job of reflecting the growing mixed population of children, but Mattel should not be marketing these as their "black" barbies. They are not a good, ethnic representation of the entire African American population.

Why did Mattel feel the need to add these subtle touches to the dolls? Why couldn't they have dark hair, brown eyes and brown children? Are we reading into this too much or does it seem to represent the subconscious of a continued belief that whiter/lighter skin is better?

1 comment:

  1. the designer is an african american woman. what is she trying to convey?