Barbie's Dream House?

Monday, March 09, 2009

Who could imagine that Mattel, the toy company that brought us such icons as Barbie, Chatty Cathy, and Hot Wheels, had a dark side? In Toy Monster: The Big, Bad World of Mattel, published in time for Barbie’s 50th birthday, Jerry Oppenheimer looks at the company’s cast of characters and the scandals it has weathered, showing that it’s not all fun and games in the big business of toys.

Listen to a great Studio 360 segment on Barbie here


Jerry Oppenheimer

Comments [14]

t-rex from NYC

barbie is ugly instead of putting bratz out if bussniess you can buy bratz entetainment

Apr. 04 2009 08:28 PM
Renata from mexico

Barbie is just plastic... you give it the power you want to... !!! I think that sometimes we get a little bit serious about a piece of plastic.

Mar. 23 2009 08:37 PM
Angela from maine

im 14 and im a child who used to play with barbies and to add too it i even had polly's and i still like polly's and i like bratz too still

i wrote this and i expect all parents to please read it cuz none of you morons about this bratz and barbie fued - read the journal part

and if anyone would like to copy and paste the journal from a child point of view on the fued

Mar. 20 2009 01:39 PM
bob from Los Angeles

I worked in Barbie for 5 years--

Make no mistake-- Mattel is a FOR PROFIT company.

Mattel goes through regular annual layoffs-- not just in "down turn" economic times.

It is a stress filled environment- thus having cut throat employees is the norm--if you don't perform you get the axe- a pretty standard US way of doing business.

The best way to describe Mattel is that is is "just like a playground"- with Bullies- (Marketing) Teachers- (the directors) small click's of kids (the different groups in Mattel)-- There are "expulsions" and grades so you always have to "watch out"--Most of the executives behave JUST LIKE KIDS-- grudges and all !!!!

So if you dis-Barbie you need to look at society first-- Mattel knows how to "sell"

Keep Playing :)

Mar. 10 2009 11:02 PM
jenny from brooklyn

It's my understanding that Barbie's proportions were not a statement on idealized women's bodies, so much as a practical answer to fitting "human" fabric to a tiny doll. The fabric used for her outfits is thin, but it's still grossly disproportionate to her tiny body. When you allow for folding over and creating seams, it adds substantial bulk to her frame. So, when you look at her fully clothed (which was the intention) yes, she has a small waist, but it's not SO crazy for a time when girdles were the norm. If they made her normal human proportions, she would be like a little tube, no shape at all, once you had her all decked out.

Mar. 09 2009 03:05 PM
marnie from NYC

My brother used to put raisins in my Barbie's toilet.

Mar. 09 2009 03:04 PM
Laura from sunnyside

What about the rise of the hispanic consumer demographic to explain the success of the Bratz dolls?

Mar. 09 2009 01:55 PM
Christina from Long Island, NY

One point that is not being talked about is the target market has dropped down to three year old girls and their mothers. Besides being inappropriate for the 4-5 year old age group, the young girls cannot manipulate the tiny clothing and the moms end up 'playing' with the dolls.

Mar. 09 2009 01:53 PM
Rochelle from Jersey Shore

I don't mean to be contrary but many great fashion designers do not know how to sew. They take their concept to a pattern maker who "designs" the item. This guy seems really of the mark.

Mar. 09 2009 01:51 PM
Seth from Upper West Side

How can a 5" tall plastic doll have more influence over a young girl than her environment (i.e. parents, siblings, family dynamics, family eating habits, television, internet, friends, etc.)?!

I do not doubt that the modern day Western warped standards of beauty are reinforced by the toy, but surely
environment is a more powerful force.

Mar. 09 2009 01:49 PM
Amy from Brooklyn

Barbie didn't invent women's desire to "improve" their figures. Think if corsets, of course; but even in my mother's day, the '40s, women used amphetamines to lose weight - legal at the time - and did exercises to increase the bustline.

Mar. 09 2009 01:48 PM
Mickey Bitsko from Downtwon Manhattan

Thanks, Mattel, for covering our planet with plastics and other worthless toxic pollutants. And thank you, humans, for buying and throwing away this junk for decades.

Mar. 09 2009 01:42 PM
melissa from teaneck, NJ

My daughter went through a Barbie phase as a 6-year-old. As the one who bankrolled her Barbie obsession, I learned that buying more Barbies was actually as cheap or cheaper than buying more outfits. The result was that she amassed around two dozen Barbies, in various skin hues, by the time she lost interest. One day I found she had taken off their clothes and arranged them in a starburst pattern, according to skin tone, with their tiny toes pointed to the center. If she had been an adult, I'd call that a post-modern comment on race, gender, commercialism -- or all of the above.

Mar. 09 2009 10:46 AM
Rochelle from Jersey Shore

I know it is fun to mock Barbie and her impossible body but she deserves some respect. She was the very first career doll. She gave little girls an opportunity to dream beyond motherhood. To this day, she is always attempting new jobs (vet, pilot, rock star etc.)

And, though she is misproportioned at last she is not lude like Bratz dolls!

now Matell...that's another story (didn't they try and crush American Girl dolls and now they have acquired them..another version of distruction.)

Mar. 09 2009 10:14 AM

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