Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Journalism Is Dead

The launch of anchor Barbie is causing cries of "Journalism is dead!" among high-brow media types, who argue she's better for reporting the "news" on E! rather than conveying actual news to the public.

No, seriously. People are getting their knickers in a twist over this. Really.

And it's not limited to online rants, either. Why, just the other day, I saw the same argument made by people I know who work in journalism on their Facebook profiles.

What people seem to be forgetting is that:
  1. She's a toy intended for children. She's not intended as a 1:16 carbon copy of Katie Couric.
  2. She's aspirational. That's what the Barbie career dolls are all about.
  3. There are bigger issues to kvetch about in the world than Barbie's latest career. 
Maybe these ranters should think about attending this.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Ken's Time to Shine

Barbie's long-term boyfriend is no longer content to hold his girlfriend's purse and wait in the shadows: He's getting some of the spotlight for himself in a media push from Mattel.

Online reports indicate Ken will be featured in a web reality series called Genuine Ken: The Search for the Great American Boyfriend. Read about it here and here.

Mattel also recently featured Ken in a "Catch Me If You Ken" fashion campaign.

Check out those Kens. Yum.

For more on the campaign, check out this video.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Turning Japanese

Mattel is preparing to release another round of Dolls of the World Barbies, and a backlash already is occuring because of Japanese Barbie and Ken.

Critics are blasting Mattel for the "stereotypical" concepts the toy maker used in creating the dolls. Barbie is a sexy geisha, and Ken is a samurai. Ken's sword-toting, ponytailed look is receiving the brunt of the backlash, especially since Mattel has dressed Barbie in similar kimono-type outfits before.

Read about the controversy here, here, here and here.

One of the links aptly notes, however, that stereotypes are nothing new for Mattel and its Dolls of the World collection.

Check out the dolls for North America. There's a Canadian Mountie, a Polynesian dressed as a hula dancer and four Native Americans featuring beads, braids and fringe. None of them exactly are busting down walls and introducing new cultural ideas.

You can view past Asian Barbies here.

What do you think of the new dolls? The writers of a some of those critiques didn't seem to have the best opinion of Barbie overall anyway...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Great Eras

During a recent trip to Minnesota, I stopped by the Mall of America. Always a bad idea, especially on a weekend. It was crowded, hot and generally awful (not unlike my last visit).

But between elbowing fellow Midwesterners out of my way (seriously, why must people walk so slowly in a wide group that prevents other people from passing easily??) and standing in long lines while waiting for one cashier to ring up the purchases of the 50 people in front of me, I got to thinking about a visit to the mall I made as a kid.

It was before SpongeBob land or whatever it's called now and back with the indoor amusement park was still Camp Snoopy. My parents let me pick out one Barbie from a toy store near the park.
I went with Egyptian Queen from the Great Eras collection. She has my favorite head mold and a beautiful outfit in blue and gold. I'll admit the headdress is a bit chintzy looking, but the rest of the outfit makes up for it.

I have three dolls from the Great Eras collection: Egyptian Queen, Gibson Girl and Southern Belle. Mattel made 10 dolls in the collection, so I'm actually missing quite a few.

The boxes Mattel designed for Great Eras are great. Each is reminiscent of a book and opens to reveal not only the doll but information, facts and pictures from each "era."

A toy that exites AND educates kids (and doesn't cost an arm and a leg like some coughAmericanGirlcough dolls)? Very cool.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Barbie Dream Sale Is BACK!

I can't resist a good sale. Last year, I picked up some great deals during the Barbie Dream Sale. Seriously, not just OK deals.

Great. Deals.

And if you didn't get a chance to take part in all the discounted fun, you get another chance. Mattel is bringing back the Barbie Dream Sale, and it starts next week.

Here is the fine print:

The Barbie Dream Sale begins 12:01am CT 9/21/2010, and ends 11:59pm CT 9/27/2010. For Gold Label dolls, limit five (5) of each Gold Label doll per order. Discount not valid on previous purchases. Prices exclude shipping and processing, and any applicable sales tax. All discount offers exclude Barbie Fan Club membership, club dolls, gift wrap and gift cards. Must be 18 years or older to order. Offer valid while supplies last. 
Fashionably early savings begin at 12:01am CT 9/21/10 and end at 11:59pm CT 9/22/10. The discounts are as follows: 
Tuesday 9/21 ONLY: Enjoy 25% off every regular priced doll, fashion and accent you purchase in the online shop. Plus, enjoy an additional 25% off already-reduced items within the Barbie™ Dream Sale shelf in the online shop. Tuesday only discounts will appear in shopping cart. 
Wednesday 9/22 ONLY: Enjoy an additional 25% off already-reduced items within the Barbie Dream Sale shelf in the online shop. Wednesday only discounts will appear in shopping cart. 
Thursday 9/23 - Monday 9/27: Shop within the Barbie Dream Sale shelf in the online shop to save as much as 67% off regular prices. Dream Sale prices as indicated on item product pages.

Happy shopping!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Altered Barbie

The Altered Barbie show is on in San Francisco now through Sept. 30. Anyone in the area should check out the exhibit.

You can see Barbie as a spider.

Or an eggplant.

Or whatever this is.

These inventive and, in some cases, downright odd Barbie adaptations didn't come easily. Mattel didn't like that its iconic doll was getting trusted up with eight legs or made into purple vegetables. Read about the legal challenges Altered Barbie has faced here.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Pretty as a Picture

Barbie means a lot of things to a lot of people, and some of those people have a talent for expressing their Barbie emotions through art. (I can't say that I'm among them. I tried taking a pottery class once. It didn't turn out well.)

From the Altered Barbie exhibit now happening in San Francisco to the number of works featured Barbie by renowned artists, Barbie is a frequent participant in art of all kinds and styles.

Check out some of these iconic pieces:

•Andy Warhol, “Barbie”

•Peter Max, “Futuristic Barbie”

•Kenny Scharf, “Barbluella”

•Peter Engelhardt, “Beauty and the Beast”

•Karl Lagerfeld, “Little Black Dress”
•Carol Peligan, “Icon”

•Jennifer Bartlett, “Barbie Paints a Picture”

•David Salle, unnamed

•Robert Stern, “Colossus of Barbie”

•Jim Dine, “Barbie”

•Donald Baechlor, “Ice Cream”

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hello, Hello

My dearest Barbie friends,

My apologies for the decline in Barbie posts! I've been a terrible Barbie blogger this summer. Alas, sunshine and fun aren't the culprits sucking my time. Rather, a new desk and new computer at a new job are requiring much more of my attention, sad to say.

But I will make a better effort!

Here's my first attempt:

Mattel CEO Roberty Eckert recently shared his thoughts on Barbie, Mattel and his career with the company in an interview with SmartMoney magazine. I'd love to get my hands on that "Bob Barbie" (a mini version of the big man himself).

Check it out here.

And now, I will repeat this mantra to help me stay on track:

Be a Better Barbie Blogger
Be a Better Barbie Blogger
Be a Better Barbie Blogger
Be a Better Barbie Blogger
Be a Better Barbie Blogger

Say it five times fast. Go ahead, try it yourself. Not so easy, right?