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Dia de los Muertos Barbie Raising Eyebrows Not Spirits

by Timothy Rawles

When I first heard Mattel was releasing a “Day of the Dead” Barbie, I had visions of Sarah (Lori Cardille) being grabbed by swarms of undead hands in a fever dream. But, that’s not the case.

For every child out there who loves to play with Barbie, there are probably an equal amount of adults who collect them, keep them in either encased in creepy glass containers or hide them away in the attic in a hoarders time capsule.

Either way the latest offering for the young or the young at heart is creating quite a controversy. Dia de los Muertos Barbie in stores on Sept. 12 has hordes of people with pitchforks storming the Mattel gates demanding that she get re-buried.


Although not quite as hyperbolic as I make it sound, Mattel is teetering in hot water with this version of their iconic doll; some people think it’s a form of cultural misappropriation.

Barbie, dressed in a Mexican inspired peasant dress with ruffles and butterflies has her face painted in the traditional sugar-skull artwork. You can have this collector’s item for only $75 US.


But not everyone is impressed.

The Twittersphere is teeming with negative responses after Mattel released the Barbie news. Now This posted their story on the social network about the release and one person said, “Gross. Not all Hispanic women dress like this.”

“Isnt this Cultural Appropriation?” asked another. “I think its time to cancel mattel for making money off of Hispanic women!”

In contrast, there were some supporters:

“Very cool, as a Mexican I think this is a cool representation of the culture here, anyone who cries “cultural appropriation” is a racist be they “liberal” or not.”

I think Mattel should skip the controversy and still do a Sarah doll and make Ken Bub. But I’m a weird hoarder like that.

Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a multi-day holiday, celebrated from Oct. 31 through Nov. 2, honors the lives of late loved ones and encourages them to come visit.

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