06/21/14 by Rennie Detore
Barbie is no stranger to changing careers. Her latest occupation may not be the flashiest or most fun of her toy tenure, but it may rank as the most popular across the board.
Mattel is repacking Barbie yet again, this time ditching the swimsuits, surf boards and shopping for something that most critics agree is long overdue: ambition.
Mattel announced that its latest Barbie is going to be titled "Entrepreneur Barbie," and she'll come complete with everything the working girl needs to be successful, including her power outfit and clothing ensemble, along with today's gadgets every important executive needs: cell phone, tablet and, of course, the briefcase.
Entrepreneur Barbie still is sporting a slim and what some would argue is an unrealistic figure, but Mattel at least addressed concerns some pundits had that Barbie wasn't the type of role model that her core audiences really needed. Young, impressionable girls that idolize Barbie, buy her toys and are influenced by them at least in some form or fashion now have something to sink their pre teen teeth into that is focused on having a career instead of cars, clothes and scantily clad bathing suits.
Mattel made negative waves a few months ago when the Barbie Doll was given a spot in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition of the magazine, furthering the notion and belief that Barbie is bad for girls and sets expectations that no girl can ever emulate. From the blonde hair to what you'd think is a size 2 body type, Barbie isn't just a toy to some but rather a measuring stick that sets the bar way too high for girls that see her as the "perfect girl."
Mattel didn't flinch when Barbie received criticism this past spring, but their newest incarnation of the doll suggests that a change was in order from the status quo as far as the fictional Barbie character and her ambition is concerned. Mattel might get a few pats on the back from outside the walls of their corporate offices in the form of a few parent groups or watchdogs for the betterment of society.
But in the end, Barbie isn't to blame for how she's portrayed, and neither is Mattel quite frankly. Barbie has been around for 50 years, and to suggest that she's suddenly the scapegoat for all of our woes as far as the young girl or women is concerned seems a little ill timed and a bit of a stretch.
It's nice to see Barbie ditch the party persona this time around with Entrepreneur Barbie looming large on the horizon, but if she goes back to being a fun loving doll after her stint as a business professional ends, that shouldn't signal the end of society as we know it.
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