My nieces turn 3 and 6 years old this month and while shopping for their birthday presents at a local toy store, my husband and I made an interesting discovery: an Eiffel Tower Barbie. There it was, in its pretty box, standing in between Big Ben Barbie and a Twilight Jacob Doll.
Seeing an Eiffel Tower Barbie not only made me consider buying my first Barbie ever… it also made me want to reflect on the doll’s relationship with my country. While Barbie’s creator, Ruth Handler, was apparently inspired by a German toy when she came up with the concept of an adult-bodied doll for little American girls, Barbie has since grown into quite a fashion icon. And of course, you can’t say fashion without saying France and for her 50th birthday last year, Barbie put on quite a fashion show at les Galleries Lafayettes in Paris. The store gave her an entire floor and the who’s-who of French fashion dressed her for the occasion.
In addition to being a fashion icon, Barbie is also a world phenomenom. In 1980, she became a true global citizen with the launch of the Dolls of the World/International series. In these collections, Barbie wears “culturally accurate attire” from around the globe as well as historically traditional princess costumes from foreign cultures. France, of course, is well represented in these collections, not with princesses but with can-can dancers:
The Eiffel Tower Barbie I spotted at Target yesterday is actually part of a three-dolls collection celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Dolls of the World Series previously mentioned. I have to say, I am not hating them…
For now the Dolls of the World Landmark Collection is limited to these three “monumental” Barbies above but I’m sure the collection has room to grow. Which world landmark could you see in the collection? Kremlin Barbie? Tower of Piza Barbie?