As part of its “Dolls of the World” collection, toy manufacturerMattel has recently released the Mexico Barbie Doll. Some online critics, though, are not happy with the doll, saying it inflames cultural stereotypes.
The Mexican doll, which is dressed in a ruffled pink dress, comes with a passport and is accompanied by a small Chihuahua for the retail price of $29.95. In particular, many are taking offense to the symbolic nature of the passport.
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Jason Ruiz, an American studies professor at Notre Dame University told Good Morning America that the inclusion of the passport hits particularly sensitive nerves in the Mexican-American community amid heightened dispute over the immigration politics in the United States.
“It is a point of contention and great sensitivity for people of Mexican origin, especially Mexican immigrants,” said Ruiz. “Papers decide everything for immigrants from Mexico.”
Ruiz also mentions that he is not personally offended.
The inclusion of the passport isn’t actually unique–all the dolls in the series come with one–and a few of the characters are accompanied by a miniature version of some furry friend. The Indian doll, for instance, comes with a small monkey.
Meanwhile, Mattel has released a statement saying:
Each doll wears an ensemble inspired by the traditional costume and fashion of the country. … We consulted with the Mexican Embassy on the Dolls of the World Mexico Barbie, especially with respect to the selection of the Chihuahua. Our goal with the Dolls of the World Mexico Barbie, as well as the entire Dolls of the World Collection, is to celebrate cultural differences and tradition, introducing girls to the world through play.
Some people, however, do not agree. Claudya Martinez, a writer for website MamásLatinas, told ABCNews.com that it was jarring to see Mexico Barbie with a passport.
“I think a lot of people would like to pretend that there is no more racism and that people are not facing barriers because of their background or their culture,” she said. “If you happen to be one of the cultures who is continuously bombarded with stereotypes, it’s hard not to notice that the progress you thought had been made has been taken for granted.”
“We’re raising multicultural children in the United States; we’re all part of the cultural fabric. To reduce us to something that easy to digest in a bite just oversimplifies who we are.”