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Non-existent Mexican Barbie Controversy Sums Up Everything That’s Wrong With Journalism

By | [email protected] | April 11, 2013 8:39pm


Ah, finally. A perfect example of everything that’s wrong with journalism today (besides this website, that is).

A few people on the Twittersphere (and by transference, the entire universe) are enraged at Mattel today. It seems that the toy company has just released (“just” as in “last year”) an extremely controversial “Mexican Barbie” that comes with a couple accessories such as a chihuahua and a passport.

How terribly racist! I mean, the chihuahua is already bad, but a passport? It’s not enough that Mexican immigrants in the US have to deal with the eyeroll-inducing statements of Arizona’s sheriff Joe Arpaio, now Mexican Barbies have to carry a passport too? Outrageous.

The global media was all over this, denouncing the indirect indoctrination of our children via the Barbie “Dolls of the World” collection. Except for the tiny detail that all dolls in the collection come with a passport because it’s freaking called “Dolls of the World.”

Here’s how our industry works these days: we scramble for information online because unfortunately there’s no money to send our journalists out in the field. We’re hungry for something controversial that may help increase our readership.

So instead of their headline being “Toy doll continues to perpetuate beauty and racist stereotypes” or “Idiots fail to understand toy concept“, they decided to go with “Controversy over Mexican Barbie with Passport“.

Regarding the stupidity of this whole thing, Mattel released a statement saying:

Each doll wears an ensemble inspired by the traditional costume and fashion of the country. … 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.

The Argentine Barbie, besides looking like a Spanish hooker, comes with a baby puma. (Photo/Mattel)

You know what really is upsetting? The Argentine Barbie comes with a baby puma and no one has said a peep about it. A BABY PUMA. Right. Because who hasn’t had a puma here?

So wait. Am I to assume that they also consulted with the Argentine Embassy with respect to the selection of a baby puma as a common household pet in Belgrano? Somebody needs to get fired over this, like, now.

As the media (us) continues to suck, people (you) continue to contribute to the cult of retweet. People read a headline and dispose of the rest. People see a photo with an outrageous headline on their Facebook feed and share it, angrily, satisfied with their armchair activism and without even bothering to check the facts.

We’re doomed.