Mattel is in hot water for its Mexico Barbie doll, part of a recent update to its “Dolls of the World” line. Many customers have expressed offense over what they feel is “stereotypical”: The doll is “dressed for a fabulous fiesta in her vibrant pink dress with ruffles” and carries a pet Chihuahua, along with a passport and stamps.
After the company’s Twitter page was inundated with complaints, Mattel issued a statement pointing out that all of the dolls in the line carry their own passports, as well as “an animal friend providing additional play value.” The brand further defends its choices in accessorizing Mexico Barbie, saying:
“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.”
It’s probably worth noting the Chihuahua breed of dogs is named after a state in Mexico. However, Jason Ruiz, a professor of American studies at Notre Dame University says Mattel was lazy with their portrayal. “It sounds to me like Mattel took some shortcuts,” Ruiz tells ABC News. “The bright pink ribbons? A Chihuahua? That kind of stuff is so easy to use.” Ruiz calls the passport “a point of contention and great sensitivity for people of Mexican origin, especially Mexican immigrants.” Ruiz says, “Papers decide everything for immigrants from Mexico.”
Other Barbie dolls from the “Dolls of the World” line include China Barbie, which wears “an Asian-inspired gown of red silk” and is accompanied by a “panda friend,” Spain Barbie, which wears a Flamenco dress, and France Barbie which wears a beret and comes with a basket of baguettes.