I’m a (French) Barbie Girl in a Barbie World – Part Deux

So, Mattel just released a new set of “Dolls of the world,” a collection initially launched 30 years ago to introduce new cultures to the little girls who play with Barbies.  And by “introducing new cultures” they apparently mean re-hashing tired old stereotypes that piss off a lot of people, like Felix Sanchez, Chairman and co-founder of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. He’s not a fan of Mexico Barbie. Well, guess what… I’m not exactly thrilled with French Barbie either!

To be fair, I guess there’s been some progress in the way Mattel is portraying us. Some. This is the first time the French Barbie isn’t dressed like a can-can dancer (see previous rant post on the French Barbies here). Over the course of 30 years, Mattel has evolved from one tired and outdated stereotype to another. Yeah! Though, I’m a little sad that unlike many of the other “foreign” Barbies who have a little pet accessorie (China gets a panda, Australia has a koala and India a little monkey) la barbie française doesn’t have a poodle friend… what’s with that Mattel? what’s with that… Also, what other old cliche will you revisit next? French maid Barbie maybe? Oh wait, you’ve done that too already

You can view the whole collection here. What do you think? Do you agree with Mattel that the dolls “help foster learning and appreciation of different countries and cultures”? Or do you think like me that the dolls are not educational at all and just rehash old tired stereotypes? If you’re from one of the countries with a Barbie of the World doll, what do you think of the way you’re being portrayed?

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