I watched Erin Burnett Out Front on CNN last Thursday and heard arguments about whether or not Mexican Barbie depicts racism.
I’ve read both positive and negative comments about the doll coming from women with Latin-American last names.
The woman on the show arguing against the doll pretty much hates Barbies in general.
She says the dolls set unrealistic standards of beauty for little girls, that they are the reason young women grow up anorexic, bulimic, depressed, suicidal, etc.
She also said it was wrong for Mexican Barbie to have a passport and a Chihuahua.
Here I go:
I have Mexican friends who own hot pink frilly dresses.
This particular dress is the regional attire for cultural dancers in the state of Jalisco.
Sometimes my friends throw parties to get together and dance on stage in front of everyone.
(If you don’t believe me, you can watch the video minute 11:37).
I also have Mexican friends who own Chihuahua dogs.
Not because it is a Mexican breed of dog, but because it is a small dog and us Mexicans tend to have less real estate than say- White people.
So having a small dog if you live with several other people in a small house is just more practical.
As for the passport?
I have lots of Mexican friends who have those too.
What’s the big deal? Don’t white people have passports? I think Black people do too.
Mexican Barbie isn’t even a new thing.
When I was little, I had 16 Barbies and two Kens and one or two babies.
Not all the Barbies were white. Barbie had racially diverse friends.
One of them, a tanned brunette sold by Mattel under the name of Theresa, was my favorite. In fact, I still have her.
Plus another red-head variation wearing a typical Mexican knit dress my grandmother made for her.
Is that racist?
I had my dad make them a Barbie dream house to my specifications, plus they had a Barbie mall and a Barbie ranch, and of course, the Barbie Corvette.
My friends and I would sew clothes and make minute jewelry for them which they would sell and buy at the mall, where they would also have their hair done.
While Barbies were at work one of the Kens stayed home to cook and do laundry.
The other Ken tended to the ranch with another Barbie.
But there was always something funny about the way Barbie looked.
It didn’t have to do with her dimensions.
Let me explain.
When I was eight, my friend Elenita and I were creating soap-opera style dialogues for our dolls.
One of the Kens cheated on his wife with another Barbie.
It started as a kiss.
But then Elenita took their clothes off and- well- you know.
Ken had no penis.
Barbie had no vagina.
So obviously I grew up knowing Barbie dolls are not based on actual human anatomy.
I didn’t expect to look like her as an adult any more than I expected to look like a Cabbage Patch doll or stuffed Teddy Bear.
And as for the Bulimia/Anorexia thing?
Honestly if parents blame something that serious on the way a toy looks, maybe they just aren’t taking responsibility for their communication faults?