New Mariachi Barbie Hopes to Strike Right Chord After Controversy

"Let's face it, you're in America, we're all mixed so it's a big pot of gumbo": says a parent about the new Mariachi Barbie

Meet Mariachi Barbie. She's Mattel's newest doll representing Mexico in their Dolls of the World collection.

"I think it's nice to represent different cultures and have diversity and that's the right age to teach diversity, so I like it," said Bita Van Gilder, a parent.

That is the reaction Mattel is hoping for, especially after the controversy generated by last year's Mexican Barbie.

Dressed in a bright pink traditional costume and carrying a Chihuahua, this doll touched off a firestorm of criticism for being outdated and stereotypical.

"If I had kids I'd get them normal Barbie and say dress them up however you want," said Helen Ramirez, a Los Angeles resident. "If you think they're Spanish Barbie or Indian Barbie, cool but that's telling children it's OK to stereotype them."

On Mattel's website, company officials say they consulted with the Mexican Embassy and that every international doll wore a traditional costume and carried a pet.

This year's version does not come with a pet, but some still think it's too traditional.


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"Would I buy it for my daughter?" said Rene Guzman, a parent. "No, probably not."

Guzman is Mexican-American.

He says his daughter has an African-American doll and thinks the Barbie should reflect a more modern Latina.

"I think my daughter and wife dress the same way," he said. "So a little more to the American culture, maybe."

Social media sounded off on the issue, with most users seeming to give positive feedback about the doll.

"Mariachi barbie is beautiful! Iconic and represents a golden era of #Mexican heritage. Nothing wrong with a little style and class!" said one user.

Another person tweeted that the doll wasn't promoting stereotypes if it accurarely represented the culture in Mexico, and made it clear where that tradition stems from.

"I feel as long as the Barbie doll shows what part of Mexico it represents it's all good because of course mariachi is not from each state," another person tweeted.

Still, for Guzman, the doll was lacking in keeping up with the times.

"Let's face it, you're in America, we're all mixed so it's a big pot of gumbo."

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