Matel has, of course, come out with some friends for Barbie who are other ethnicities (such as these Asian dolls), but Barbie is still overwhelmingly blond, blue eyed and stacked, with all pink accessories. (Actually, non-white dolls are easier to find these days than brown haired, brown-eyed white Barbies - I bonded with my Asian Barbie, since she still looked more like me than any of the caucasian). I was really interested by the response to create alternatives to Barbie, and the variety they show. Some are alternatives to Barbie's ethnicity, but are still primarily fashion dolls; others want to challenge the values that appear to be promoted by Barbie. But can they challenge the Queen of fashion? I had a Sindy doll when I was young, which was actually better made than a Barbie, but still wasn't as good as the real thing in my five-year old mind. And to give us all something more to debate: Who is in the Dollhouse? Research reveals [not very] surprising role models.
Dolls and role models Yue-Sai Kan started Yue Sai WaWa, a Chinese fashion doll, to provide a doll for girls in China and elsewhere that isn't blond and blue-eyed; in Iran, Dara and Sara provide role models felt to be more compatible with devout Islam as practiced there, as does Razanne. In Japan, Barbie herself is much younger than in North America, while this Australian company is trying to introduce Feral Cheryl (the anti-fashion fashion doll). How many other alternatives or adaptations have there been to this fashion doll, in an effort to better reflect ethnic or cultural differences or simply to provide an alternative?