According to the Latin Times, there's a new barbie in town and she's as offensive to Mexicans as Newt Gringich's comments during the last Republican primary. Although I wouldn't count on Barbie subverting any racial stereotypes anytime soon, this is still really disappointing.
To be clear, the passport and chihuahua carrying doll is part of a "Dolls of the World" series where each doll comes with a passport and native animal. The Indian Barbie comes with a passport and a monkey on her back (monkey-carrying women is a well-known staple of Indian culture). But still, why do the dolls even have to come with a passport and "exotic" animal, anyways? Mattel's "default" doll is usually white, and it's ridiculous that when she isn't, she needs to be accompanied by monkeys or chihuahuas. Mattel's attempt at any diversity is offensive at best.
The infamous "doll experiment" shows just how damaging stereotypes can be for children. The first time the study was conducted in the 1939, Dr. Kenneth Clark and Dr. Mamie Clark they found that when they asked black children which doll they preferred between a black and white doll, a majority tended to choose the later. When the experiment was repeated in 2005 and again in 2009, the results were the same. In the video below, a professor does the experiment using a white, Latina, and black doll. When the children in the study were asked which one was the most beautiful, more than half chose the white Barbie. When asked which one was bad, half of them pointed to the black Barbie. Only one child selected the black Barbie as the prettiest.
Sure, these studies had small samples, but they still all came to the same worrying results.
Do you think children's toys need more (and less offensive) diversity? Let me know on Twitter: @feministabulous