You’ve let Team Female down. In 2015, you started rolling out Shero (that’s she-heroes) collections: Barbies that celebrate strong, inspiring female role models from around the world.
What a great way to stem the tide of criticism the iconic toy had received for reinforcing stereotypes and promoting an unrealistic body image. The days when Barbie came only with a slim waist, big bust and long legs, lashes and locks were over. RIP Unrealistic Barbie.
Sadly, your latest attempt to celebrate womanhood, launched this month on that oh-so-special day for gals, International Women’s Day, missed the mark.
Let’s begin with the Chinese “Sheros”. Why do they look so Western? Is this some lame attempt to appeal to the United States market? I agree with comments on social media that the only one that looks remotely Chinese is top ballerina Tan Yuanyuan. Volleyball star Hui Ruoqi and actress Guan Xiaotong … really?
Then there’s Frida Kahlo. No wonder Mexican actress Selma Hayek, who played the artist and activist in 2012 biopic Frida, launched a social media tirade over the way her compatriot was portrayed. What became of Frida’s famous mono-brow?
#fridakahlo never tried to be or look like anyone else. She celebrated her uniqueness. How could they turn her into a Barbie No puedo creer que hayan hecho una Barbie de nuestra Friducha que nunca trató de parecerse a nadie y siempre celebró su originalidad #body image
A post shared by Salma Hayek Pinault (@salmahayek) on Mar 11, 2018 at 9:53am PDT
“#fridakahlo never tried to be or look like anyone else. She celebrated her uniqueness. How could they turn her into a Barbie,” Hayek wrote on Instagram, ending with #body image.
Kahlo’s family, too, were far from elated, her great-niece, Mara de Anda Romeo, saying the doll doesn’t accurately depict Kahlo’s long, dark eyebrows or her vibrant wardrobe.
“I would have liked the doll to have traits more like Frida’s, not this doll with light-coloured eyes,” she was reported as saying.
Then there’s the Barbie honouring British Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams. OK, so she’s wearing boxing gloves – well done – but where are those muscles that have made her a queen of the ring? Do you have only one template, an unrealistically slim silhouette – the look that you are so often slammed for?
Mattel, it’s great that you’re trying to be more inclusive, but these are just baby-doll steps. It’s time to head back to the drawing board and start, erm, drawing women like they are – and that means bulky biceps and bushy brows.