The man who designed the Día de Muertos Barbie said he drew from his Mexican heritage and his personal experiences celebrating holiday. However, many have expressed worries about cultural appropriation and the use of a 3,000-year-old tradition for profit.
The planned release on Thursday of the doll, which is adorned with motifs associated with the Mexican holiday Día de Muertos, has raised concerns about the watering down of a 3,000-year-old tradition.Sandra E. Garcia Sept. 11, 2019 In Mexican culture, the Día de Muertos — or Day of the Dead — is when the gateway between the living and the dead is said to open, a holiday during which the living honor and pay respects to loved ones who have died. A new Día de Muertos Barbie, set to be released on Thursday, was intended less as a portal into the realm of the dead and more as a gateway into Mexican culture. At least that is what Mattel is hoping for. “We often look at different ways to continue to engage girls and families to gain knowledge and celebrate other cultures and other parts of the world,” Michelle Chidoni, a spokeswoman for the company, said. “Our hope is for this Día de Muertos Barbie to honor the holiday for the millions that celebrate and to introduce people not familiar with the tradition to the rich meaning.” Image The designer of the new Día de Muertos Barbie said the doll’s dress was inspired by outfits he saw his mother wear. Credit Mattel The doll, which will retail at $75, has a black mermaid-style dress decorated with monarch butterflies, marigolds and roses. Her face is adorned with Calavera Catrina makeup and her head is embellished with a crown of marigolds. Many have expressed worries about cultural appropriation and the use of a 3,000-year-old tradition for profit. “With ‘Coco’ and other movies, I think it has become very popular,” José Higuera López, deputy director of the Jamie Lucero Mexican Studies Institute at Lehman College in the Bronx, said of the holiday. “I think we have to be careful in the way that we portray our celebrations as Mexicans. It’s important that it is not a parody of the celebration, and more of a representation of Latinos.” For Mariluz Gonzalez, a co-host of a late-night radio show in Los Angeles called “Travel Tips for Aztlan,” Día de Muertos is a solemn tradition that has morphed into a commercial machine in the United States, especially after the success of “ Coco ,” the 2017 Pixar film. She added that despite products like the new Barbie doll, the political and lived realities of Mexican immigrants in the United States were too stark to ignore. “It’s obviously cultural appropriation, but — cómo te digo ?” Ms. Gonzalez said. “It’s what our country loves to do. It’s all about marketing.” “Is our culture benefiting economically because of that?” she continued. “Is our government doing anything for us? And the raids, and all that, and we should be happy about a doll?” Juan Carlos Aguirre, the executive director of Mano a Mano , a nonprofit that works to preserve and present Mexican culture in New York, said he was more concerned about the watering down of the tradition when it crosses into United States culture. “There is a loss in translation,” he said. “Day of the Dead in Mexico has a very specific aesthetic. There are a lot of things about the holiday transporting to the United States that will change. ” Mr. Aguirre mentioned that even the name of the holiday had changed in its crossover to mainstream American culture. Whereas the Spanish name of the holiday is Día de Muertos, for instance, in English, it is usually rendered as Día de los Muertos. He also added that the Calavera Catrina makeup evolved once the tradition became popular in the United States. “In the United States, when they do makeup for Day of the Dead, they actually do a version of it that mixes Halloween and Day of the Dead,” Mr. Aguirre said, adding that while Catrina makeup in the United States often includes a spiderweb on the forehead, “spiderwebs are a Halloween thing.” Halloween uses the spiderweb as a symbol for an abandonment — a poor fit for Día de Muertos traditions, like family visits to cemeteries to clean headstones and leave offerings of flowers, decorations, bread and candles. “There are a lot of things that are being added to the holiday that are sort of warped,” Mr. Aguirre said. The man who designed the Barbie, Javier Meabe, 34, said he drew from his Mexican heritage and his personal experiences celebrating Día de Muertos as a boy. “I grew up going to Mexico and I pulled a lot of that inspiration and things that I remember growing up,” he said, adding that he fashioned the doll’s dress after ones he saw his mother wear. “That is something that is very dear to my heart," Mr. Meabe said of the holiday. “I know how important it is to honor and respect family and friends that are no longer with us.” Many will still welcome the doll. “I’m going to buy it!” said Patty Rodriguez, a founder and an editor of Lil’ Libros, a publisher of bilingual children’s books. She argued it added immediate visibility to Mexican and Mexican-American identity. “We’re seeking to be seen, and our contributions, and who we are, we’re constantly struggling with that,” Ms. Rodriguez, 35, said. “The brand Barbie and Mattel are very much part of this country’s zeitgeist, and I think the doll is beautiful.” Pablo A. Piccato, a Columbia University professor who specializes in Mexican history, said he believed the doll would be of no consequence to the Día de Muertos tradition, which has already “been the object of many changes and reappropriations” since the 20th century. “It’s always been linked to an essential Mexican identity, too, although the definition of that identity has also changed over the years,” Mr. Piccato said. “I don’t think that a new toy with a Día de Muertos theme will change things much.” Daniel Hernandez contributed reporting. Read more: The New York Times
This is a doll, it shows off the beautiful Mexican heritage. I'm guessing that not many people would be able to afford buying her. I feel these people are nit-picking, many items are sold with Mexican heritage designs, it is called 'trade'. Ohh Barbi Was always Shiva .... symbolic minds . justincase_no_n OMG!!!!!! Don’t Big businesses profit outta traditions like Thanksgiving, Christmas 🎄 Easter 🐣 New Years n so on. Please Stop just Stop.
When inclusion causes anxiety... The problem I am see with the NYT times lately is reporters used to see stories like this and say... this person is making an idiotic argument and they just DIDNT PUBLISH THE STORY. But this culture of publish anything even if it's a fringe opinion makes us look stupid.
You mean like all the Christmas stuff that comes out every year to generate cashflow in capitalist economies? FFS! Political correctness rides yet again... Because nobody else makes a profit off of items related to Dia de Muertos... whatever... Hey, Santa is also about 2000 years old! Oh no we can’t let brown people’s holidays have representation
New 'Day of the Dead' Barbie to debut ahead of Dia de los Muertos Barbie will release the new limited-edition doll ahead of the Mexican holiday that celebrates late loved ones. Perhaps you could start a new twitter account with the name ABC Pop Culture ... It would be more reflective of the content of your tweets of late. Very cool From my writing: As the earth turns towards winter, dia de los muertos reminds me of my loved ones. I pull their memories close. I strive to live a life that is memorable. I'm reminded that a life well lived will be a life well missed… and well remembered.
Stupid millenials: OMG, even though i know nothing about Dia de los Muertos, i think this is soooo offensive. Mexicans: hell yeah, mexican Barbie! Looks awesome! Thank God no one held the Romans accountable for 'cultural appropriation'. What BS.truthbetold Racehustling or pandering ? It isn’t divisive to incorporate other cultures, even in a commercial way. It is divisive to say you can’t.
I am very worried about the cultural appropriation aspects of this. If we just let this go, nothing will happen. Not appropriation— cultural commodification in its most literal form lol Good idea. I have Dia de Muertos decarations in my home hand made. Great art work. To be absolutely fair, is now the time that commercializing holidays has become “too much”?
Why give the outraged a platform? This is not news, this is outrage fodder.
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Yeah tell Disney about their animation movie for profit. Give one for free to the girls separated from their parents at the borders and then I don't know, reunite them with their families! Maybe that will spark forgiveness. Cultural appropriation or representation? Not to mention Halloween costumes. Personally think she is most appealing Barbie have ever seen (am not huge fan of line).
It looks appropriate to me. Everytime an American buys a hamburger, the citizens of Hamburg, Germany, feel the pain of cultural appropriation. Omg. So we can’t celebrate cultures with a frickin’ doll? I should think that exposing more people to different cultures is a good thing. But apparently not. Smdh!
Enough already. Ridiculous. Can people be more woke?
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Worrying about cultural appropriation is racist. OH PEOPLE GET OVER IT.. PRACTICALLY EVERYTHING IS DONE FOR PROFIT... IT'S A BARBIE FOR HEAVEN'S... I'LL BUY ONE. As a Mexican, I can assure you we don't really mind and many may actually like it American hesitation with profit? This reads like an Onion article. 🤣😂😆🤪
Hmmm...what about the crucifix? People have been making a profit selling something that Jesus was nailed to, and left to die on, for centuries....The Cross✝️ But that's okay? He was murdered on this symbol! I think this man's Barbie pales in comparison. 'Cultural appropriation.' We non-insane people of the 20th century call trade.
Go to the swap meet, that look is slapped on everything from skateboards, cups, t-shirts , posters and socks . So it was sold for profit decades ago. Throw Virgin Mary candles in there too. 'What now Michael?' 'I'm calling Barbi.' Ring, Ring, Ring, Ring, 'Hello, Barbi speaking.' 'Hey hot stuff, I'm staring at your Muertos pic' 'Hey Twyla, AOU-OUCH! Stop it Ken! Get off me!' 'Dump her baby I need you in this.' 'Get off me Ken!' 'Twyla, call you back, Get off me Ken!'
I like it. Why water down anyone’s history? The US just......lies. Art is freedom!
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For real c'mon I'm Latino and I'd be super happy to see little kids of any color play with this doll, it only helps spread cool things from our culture. Give it a break with this, my guess is a bunch of white Americans are getting insulted for the rest of us. Wait... Has anyone been to any party store lately? Dia de los Muertos stuff has been appropriated by many people for many years , so its hypocritical to all of a sudden worry about that just because it’s a Barbie.
Damned if they do; damned if they don’t (pardon the pun). Dead Barbie says a lot. I suspect a bunch of white activists got this meaningless outrage going. It usually works that way. I hear LeBron is trying to trademark it Whenever I feel down about being a South African living in the UK, and the trails both countries face, America is always my go to for ridiculous entertainment. I didn't think it possible to have such a concentration of collective arseholes in one place. ridiculous
It's a doll What? It does? 'Halloween uses the spiderweb as a symbol for an abandonment'
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„Cultural expropriation“? Is this something that belongs to someone exclusively or what? Culture is there to be shared, not to be protected as a piece of one‘s own body. culturalexpropriation culture Nonsense. Worries might be legit, but cultural appropriation works both ways So, like Christmas? „Cultural expropriation“? Is this something that belongs to someone exclusively or what? Culture is there to be shared, not to protected by one‘s own body. culturalexpropriation culture
Ebough bullshit! Insult! This is America! Hook up those kids selling chicklets.
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