Some of you guys might have heard the exciting news that for the first time in history, Barbie has featured a boy in its new marketing campaign. The progressive commercial was for "Moschino Barbie," which according to Rachel Bertsche of Yahoo! Parenting, sold out within an hour of its release on November 9, 2015. While I am ecstatic that our country is taking a step forward in terms of eliminating gender norms, I do find this ad a bit offensive. As a proud gay man myself, I couldn't agree more that dolls and action figures should be marketed to both boys and girls, however, I think the way in which Barbie went about this was a bit careless and almost counterproductive in some ways. In the ad, they show two girls and one boy playing with the newest member to the limited edition Barbie family. All seems normal until the boy's first line, in which he says "Moschino Barbie, SO FIERCE!" By depicting this little boy as gay, Barbie is indirectly feeding into the exact attitude, which they attempted to dismantle in the first place. The commercial gives us the sense that only gay boys play with Barbies, and thus if you let your son or grandson play with dolls, he will automatically become gay. Could they not have marketed the new toy to all children, not just girls and gay boys? While I appreciate Barbie's effort, I think they severely missed the mark on this one.
Although the outcome left something to be desired, the intentions were there, and I commend Barbie on taking a modern stance with this new marketing campaign. At the end of the day, who honestly cares what kids play with? As long as they are exercising their creativity, building their leadership and team building skills, staying safe, and having fun, why does it matter what kind of toy they play with? Whether a Barbie, a truck, a hammer, or even the box the toy comes in, kids will find enjoyment in almost anything. It is up to us to provide a safe and encouraging environment for our kids to grow up in, and if we extinguish their creativity and sense of self, who are we really helping?
If you have not yet seen the ground-breaking commercial, I have included a link at the bottom of this post, and I encourage you to take a look for yourself. Has Barbie opened the door to eliminate certain stigmas around gender norms, or have they ironically done just the opposite? Let me know what you guys think by commenting below!
Link to commercial: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AwMAcCztnlM