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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Black Barbie Issue

I know this is late, but I wanted to share it anyway. You may know from some of my earlier posts that I love ethnic dolls. So I had to snag the July 2009 issue of Vogue Italia at all costs. It features a mini issue that features all Black Barbies.

I was pleasantly surprised. The Barbies of today that are Black have more Afrocentric features. Stacy McBride-Irby, an African American designer, has worked on the latest line of ethnic Barbies called S.I.S. or So In Style.

My issue is always with Barbie's size. I like that she is now rocking natural looking hair more often but I want them to vary her size and allow her to wear flats more often than they do now. I have read:

If scaled into real life proportions, Barbie would be 5 feet, 9 inches, (1.75 m) measuring 36-18-33. This is concerning because so many of us are not this small or shaped this way. For example,
Lil Kim has said on numerous occasions, but most recently on Dancing With the Stars, that she wanted to look like Barbie. To me, altering your body to look like a plastic toy is unsettling. But I have come to a place where I accept other people's choices; all the while knowing that as long as I have sanity, I would and will never choose that.
Maybe I am being too serious, she is a toy. As long as girl's know she's a play thing and not necessarily something to emulate, I think it's fine. It is admirable, however, that she looks so young after 50 years with her many hundreds of careers.

In the actual issue, they even did a few short articles on African Americans also. One article that struck me was one on Toni Morrison, my favorite author.


ayankha said...

Yuck @ the measurements!!!! It's not unreasonable to ask to vary the size- at least give her a lil more waist & hips. While I don't think kids are that literal, it still leaves kids with a sense of what's ideal (and perhaps unrealistic).

NubianLockedPrincess said...

I love your post! I collect the Byron Lars Barbies and the the Afrocentric barbies. My sons had black GI Joes and a black my buddy doll. White male dolls and guns were not allowed in my house!

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