Kimberly H- Culture Appropriation

Posted: March 20, 2014 in Uncategorized

DuCille’s article provided an interesting perspective on how Mattel’s Barbie dolls all provide the idea of sameness. She mentions how “today Barbie dolls come in a rainbow coalition of colors, races, ethnicities, and nationalities, [but] all of those dolls look remarkably like the stereotypical white Barbie, modified by a dash of color and changes of clothes” (338). With this it is typically backing up the idea that an ethnic Barbie, of any other ethnicity other than “white”, is beautiful as long as they look like the white one. It is standardizing the idea of beauty by categorizing the same features to each doll, despite their true differences. Aside for the difference in skin colour based on the race of the doll, there are only subtle changes that distinguish one ethnic group from another such as fuller/thicker lips in darker skinned Barbie’s, or the appearance of slanted eyes in an Asian doll, demonstrating the use of culture appropriation. As DuCille mentions, “What would it take to produce a line of dolls that would more fully reflect the wide variety of sizes, shapes, colours, hairstyles […] and disabilities that all people come in?” (337).

What do you think about Mattel’s efforts in creating ethnic Barbie dolls? Do you think they have done a good job in portraying different ethnicities?

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Comments
  1. cs341blog says:

    Matt Douglas

    I really like how you brought up DuCille’s point that “What would it take to produce a line of dolls that would more fully reflect the wide variety of sizes, shapes, colours, hairstyles […] and disabilities that all people come in?” (337). I think that Barbie is often criticized because she is a template that usually espouses notions of beauty and aesthetics rather than preforming a function like a superhero would.

    In terms of your question, I think that Barbie redesigned to reflect various forms of the human body is misplaced because it offers up the notion that Barbie was incorrectly conceived. I think it is offensive to brand something as the politically correct Barbie, and argue that Barbie needs to come in various shades and forms because not all children are white. though I agree that a more culturally sensitive version of popular dolls are valuable, Barbie itself is not the best role model for kids

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