Playing with dolls

What is it with grown-ups and dolls?

It turns out now that the “teenagers” featured in Rebelde and RBD, the telenovela and music ensamble brought to you by Televisa, will now be immortalized by Mattel in the form of three new Barbie dolls: Mia, Roberta and Lupita, each dressed in their signature school uniform consisting of a blazer, a tie and a not-very-long denim skirt. Read the story, in Spanish, here.

Not that I care too much for dolls, but the news of Barbie going Rebelde came almost at the same time as a retired U.S. Force Hispanic woman announced the creation of Gabriella, an 18-inch “truly Hispanic” doll, who wears nothing fancy (jeans, a turtleneck sweater) and has long, straight black hair and, of course, big brown eyes.

In an interview with a local newspaper in Belleville, Illinois, Mary Alvarez-Pearson says she came up with the idea of Gabriella because she wanted to make sure that when a Hispanic girl looked at her, she could see herself. Well, while that’s a very noble thought, I am sorry to inform her that thanks to television and advertising, Hispanic girls don’t want to look anything remotely like them (or their mothers, grandmothers, etc.) In fact, they’d rather look like Barbie, regardless of its encarnation.

And that is why most likely sales of Barbie Rebelde will go to the roof (just like anything else associated with that uninteresting telenovela) and Gabriella might just as well become a nice, collectible item for the nostalgic type.

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