Controversial Mexico Barbie Released, Comes with Chihuahua and Documentation

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht
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Critics claim the new Mexico Barbie, complete with a pink ruffled dress, Chihuahua, and passport, reinforces negative stereotypes.

Mattel Inc. introduced the doll in its "Dolls of the World" collection, including dolls representing France, Spain, the Philippines and India.

Mexico Barbie, costing $29.95, is described on Mattel's website as being "dressed for a fabulous fiesta in her vibrant pink dress with ruffles, lace and brightly colored ribbon accent."

She comes with a passport and stickers to document her travels. She also has a “precious Chihuahua friend.” The website refers to this as a “traditional look.”

Dolls of the World launched more than 30 years ago, and Mattel says Mexico Barbie "teaches girls about the culture, traditions and ancestral dress of Mexico."

Critics argue the documentation is culturally insensitive.

The Latin Times asked whether Mexico Barbie is a political statement. While other Mattel Barbies come with accessories, like handbags, Mexico Barbie carrying documentation made the newspaper ask, “Are they making any sort of political statement or just being creative?”

"It sounds to me like Mattel took some shortcuts," said Jason Ruiz, a professor of American studies at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind. "The bright pink ribbons? A Chihuahua? That kind of stuff is so easy to use."

Ruiz, who teaches Latino studies, says that representations of feisty characters are outdated.

"[Mexican Americans] are tired of being seen as merely colorful," he told ABC News.

Ruiz claimed the passport did not offend him, but he can understand why it upsets others.

"It is a point of contention and great sensitivity for people of Mexican origin, especially Mexican immigrants," he said. "Papers decide everything for immigrants from Mexico."

Ruiz suggested Mattel take a page from the American Girl doll and give the Dolls of the World a rich personal history rather than styling them as a particular cultural heritage.

Mattel stands by the doll and the collection, the longest running Barbie series in the brand’s history.

"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," Mattel spokeswoman Stefani Yocky said in a statement Thursday.

Sources: ABC News, Huffington Post