The newest addition to Mattel’s iconic Barbie doll collection has stirred up controversy.
As part of its Dolls of the World series, the company introduced a new Mexico Barbie doll, which comes with a Chihuahua figure and a passport.
Although every doll in the series comes with a passport, critics say the inclusion of a passport with the Mexico Barbie is culturally insensitive in light of the current immigration debate that affects millions of Mexicans in the United States, according to NBC’s Today show.
“The folks over at Mattel are so smart that not only they have come up with a Mexico Barbie, but they have given her all the possible tools to go around the world undisturbed,” journalist Laura Martinez wrote mockingly on her blog. "Play with your Barbie Mexicana and don't even think of calling her indocumentada (undocumented)."
But Mattel is defending the doll as a celebration of cultural traditions in keeping with the rest of the Dolls of the World line.
"Every doll in the current line includes a ‘passport’ and stamps as well as an animal friend providing additional play value," Mattel spokesman Alan Hilowitz said in a statement. "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 Mexico Barbie is described as "being dressed for a fabulous fiesta in her vibrant dress with ruffles, lace and brightly colored ribbon accent," according to Mattel site.
"It sounds to me like Mattel took some shortcuts," Jason Ruiz, an American studies professor at Notre Dame University told Latinos Post. "The bright pink ribbons? A Chihuahua? That kind of stuff is so easy to use."
“I don’t rely on dolls to teach my daughter accurate culture or history — that’s what books, conversations, travels and real-life cultural events are for,” Flores wrote in an email to NBC. “I actually applaud Mattel for having this collection that can serve as a starting point for our girls to have a wide range of options to choose from.”
The Dolls of the World collection, initially launched in 1980, is the largest and longest-running series in the history of the Barbie brand. It features Barbies wearing ensembles inspired by the traditional costume and fashion of the countries they represent.
In 2012, Mattel launched dolls from Argentina, Australia, Chile, China, the Netherlands, India, Ireland and Mexico. The collection has one Barbie wearing Argentine tango attire, with a ruffled blue dress and black lace shawl, and another one wearing a Chilean huaso, a knee-length black skirt with a ruffled blouse and a red vest.