February 17, 2010
Dolls in the News
Dolls can reflect what is going on in society . . . however it can be a hard job for toymakers to do this! A recent article in Playthings (an industry publication)addressed this issue.
Clif Annicelli, editor-in-chief, wrote that in 2009 "no segment of the toy industry sparked a higher volume of debate than dolls."
He goes on to say that in March of 2009 Mattel marked Barbie's 50th anniversary (amid more discussion on Barbie's physical characteristics) then went on to add a Jewish character, Rebecca Rubin shown above, in it's American Girl historical line of dolls. Lots of discussion and articles on how the Jewish community was consulted for their input and approval.
Later that fall Mattel debuted In Style dolls created by "an African-American mother who wanted to create dolls more reflective of her daughter and community".
The point he is making is that the more that culturally diverse dolls are brought into the marketplace, the more people complain that "it" wasn't done right. Yet the products most often sell and the children are happy about their new friends.
Think back about the controversy when Marisol (shown below) was marketed . . . it was outrageous that in the story her parents moved from Chicago to the suburbs!
Last year the Doll of the Year, Chrissa, (shown below) had a friend named Gwen who was homeless (gasp!) - more controversy!! Interesting that we didn't hear much about her other friend, Sonali . . .