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Barbie Returns! (In a store in Buenos Aires)

November 13, 2008


The LA Times published an article today about the Barbie boutique in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The boutique features a stockpile of Barbie trinkets and clothes, a TV playing Barbie DVDs and every little girl’s dream, the Casa de la Barbie, located in the store’s back. It has a runway, a life size Barbie bedroom, and a dress up closet. If you’re not getting the gist of the endeavor, think American Girl Doll Place, only with skinnier dolls, more clothes, less books, and lots more pink. Coincidentally, Barbie and American Girl are owned by the same empire: Mattel.

Mattel sure knows how to sell stuff. When grabbing ownership of American Girl, the more modern Girl of the Year was announced, and the historical dolls starting disappearing out of the picture. (Example: Samantha, one of the three original dolls, is being canceled this winter.) More stores have been popping out around the countries, all featuring the basic package: restaurant, big boutique, theater. While American Girl is still a lot more inspiring to little girls than Barbie, it’s getting more Barbie-ish by the second. 

Which leads us back to Barbie. The opening of this store is one of many planned. The next is supposed to be opened in Shanghai sometime next year. It will have five stories (!) and quite a lot of girly girly Barbie-y stuff. While I don’t think Barbie’s the worst thing ever, (try the German doll Lille) I think it may be very commercial for them. When they step in a Barbie store, they’re being exposed to tons of commercial stuff. I don’t think it’s the best thing for them. So while I like girls to have a childhood and play with dolls, I don’t like the Barbie store. But what do you think??



P.S. I know this sounds really hypothetical coming from the editor of a FASHION blog, but when I was little, I read. And drew. And I’ve ended up pretty well if I do say so myself. I just don’t want the next generation to be a bunch of commercialized snobs.,0,4161083.story?page=1&track=rss

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