A Brief History of Ethnic Barbie Dolls Through the Years

A few years ago, Sports Illustrated decided to make the 50th issue of its widely popular Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition by devoting an entire spread to the iconic Barbie doll.

And of course, the decision did not come without controversy and the usual back and forth debate and banter about Barbie, what she means to little girls and their self esteem, and to beauty ideals.

Here is a recap of the history of Barbie

Barbie, full name Barbara Millicent Rogers, was first introduced on the market on March 9, 1959. Her boyfriend, Ken, debuted in 1961.

She has always been controversial for activist-type moms who fear that the doll represents an unattainable and idiolized form of beauty that they don’t want their daughters striving to achieve.

Many moms “of color” have opposed Barbie because they say she represents a beauty ideal that their daughters can never attain (and look natural trying): blue eyes and blond hair.

However, a few year’s after her introduction, Mattel introduced a doll with darker complexion. In 1967, Mattel released a “colored” Francie doll that was made in the same mold as Barbie but just still had European facial features and body shape.

Only in 2009, did Mattel release a “black Barbie” for commercial (non-collection) sale that had African features.

Asian parents wanted in too and wondered when Barbie would come in a version that resembled their little girls.  In 2010, Mattel released its first ever Asian doll, a Ken version, which many Asians complained should’ve been dressed like a modern Asian man in a t-shirt and jeans and not a Kabuki-looking, domo outfit.

A few years ago, when Mattel tried to modernize and release chic and updated dolls, mainly for adult collectors,  I noticed the Barbie Basic  dolls which featured dolls of various ethnic faces, hair styles and texture.

In fact, it was the first time I saw a dark complexioned doll with a mini Afro. I took a photo of it but in the caption, I noted how the black dolls were dressed extra provocatively and one had on a J-Lo style navel cut dress.  Upon research, I discovered that several African American parents were up in arms over the dolls. But honestly, since they were collector items for adults, I really didn’t see much harm in them, unless they are complaining about Black women being portrayed as hypersexual in the media too much, then okay.

Over the years, Mattel has released various ethnic dolls, though for collectors and not commercial sale.

In, 2009, Italian designer Eliana Lorena outfitted over 500 Barbies in multicultural clothing for a charity auction to benefit Save the Children at Sotheby’s in Florence, Italy, to celebrate the then 50th anniversary of Barbie. Among those in the collection:

Since then, many other brands and doll makers have attempted to step in and fill the void and provide dolls for children from various racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds. You can find a great articles giving a rundown here and here!

You might also like

Batman138 Bro138 Dolar138 Gas138 Gudang138 Hoki99 Ligaciputra Panen77 Zeus138 Kilat77 Planet88 Gaspol168 Sikat88 Rupiah138 Garuda138 Gacor77 Roma77 Sensa138 Panen138 Slot138 Gaco88 Elanggame Candy99 Cair77 Max7 Best188 Space77 Sky77 Luxury777 Maxwin138 Bosswin168 Cocol88 Slot5000 Babe138 Luxury138 Jet77 Bonanza138 Bos88 Aquaslot Taktik88 Lord88 Indobet Slot69 Paus138 Tiktok88 Panengg Bingo4d Stars77 77dragon Warung168 Receh88 Online138 Tambang88 Asia77 Klik4d Bdslot88 Gajah138 Bigwin138 Markas138 Yuk69 Emas168 Key4d Harta138  Gopek178 Imbaslot Imbajp Deluna4d Luxury333 Pentaslot Luxury111 Cair77 Gboslot Pandora188 Olxtoto Slotvip Eslot Kuy138 Imbagacor Bimabet