There’s A Difference Between Barbie & Fashion Dolls

by Yesha Callahan

Fashion DollIt seems as though every other week something has sparked outrage amongst black people. Friday, an image of a doll surfaced online, and people assumed it was a Barbie™ or possibly an idea for one.

This is not a Barbie™.

And will probably never be a Barbie™, but that didn’t stop people from sounding off about it.

From Naturally Moi:

An image of a brown Barbie doll has surfaced on the Internet, causing people to question whether or not it is supposed to be the next African-American Barbie. The doll is sporting blonde hair, gold chains, cleavage, and two bags that are strikingly similar to the Louis Vuitton monogram multicolor collection.

Many African-Americans find the doll’s appearance offensive, stating that it does not exude the true beauty of African-American women. The truth is, though, the doll strongly resembles imagery of African-American women that is seen in some of the most famous celebrities (e.g. Beyoncé, Rihanna, Nicki Minaj, etc.). The only difference I see between Beyoncé, for example, and the doll is that the doll’s skin color is darker than Beyoncé’s. If we want to change the imagery of the African-American woman, we have to start exalting celebrities and other prominent figures in the black community that represent the imagery that we’d like people around the world to embrace.

The doll in question is actually a Fashion doll. A Fashion doll is a collectors item that you won’t find at your local Walmart. Adèle Makéda dolls are from the Jason Wu collection of Integrity Toys, and not from Mattel. I’m pretty sure there’s already a change.org petition out there, started by someone who probably assumes this doll is being made by Mattel.

The site, Black Doll Collecting, broke it down for those outraged about the doll:

“While Barbie maintains the highest profile worldwide among fashion dolls, not every fashion doll is a Barbie. I might also stress that while Mattel (the manufacturer of Barbie and her host of friends) creates dolls for children sold by toy retailers and through their own online website, every Barbie is not designed for child’s play. There are playline Barbies as well as several collectors editions.

For misinformed non-doll collectors and parents who often display a knee-jerk reaction to dolls designed for adults, please relax-relate-release. Just because you see a fashion doll that you think is a Barbie made for children that portrays an image that you deem inappropriate for a child, in most situations the doll was fashioned for adult collectors by a manufacturer or doll artist other than Mattel. There is no need to start a campaign against the doll or manufacturer or to create an otherwise pseudo-controversy, as in the case of the Django Unchained movie-memorabilia-action-figures-made-for-adults fiasco.”

Protest and complaining is good, but it’s always good to do your research first.

Once again, this is a $7.99 Barbie:

 

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This is an Integrity Fashion doll, that’ll probably run you about $150:

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Fashion Doll

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you find the Fashion doll offensive?

  • Camryn

    Those dolls are beautiful..high fashion indeed! I don’t see why anyone would think it’s offensive.

  • Chika

    Honestly, I find all types of Barbie dolls or their high-end look-a-likes offensive to women in general. But am I about to start a petition about this “fashion” doll because it kinda looks like a Black chick? No, I have better things to do like eating oatmeal or breathing…

  • SAMURAI36

    LMAO @ “Hood booger Barbie”… Complete with a blonde weave, fake contacts & eye lashes, purple lipstick that does not match her complexion on her turned-up lips, fake nails, & not one, but TWO Coach Boutin wanna be bags, carrying twice the amount of nothing important.

    Hilarious.

    What are people more offended by: the doll itself, or the fact that this is an accurate representation of many of our women these days?

  • Blasè

    wow, i’m impressed by the how real the faces are!

    good work!

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  • Marisa

    They went too far with that one with the blond hair its that open cleavage is throwing me off if your pushing this to kids. I must say the doll designers are at least giving more effort than when I was a child, all those black dolls were just white ones painted black. At least I’m seeing more features in some of these dolls that are relatable to my features as a black female.

  • Yb

    I’m saying. Some people just want a reason to be mad, and won’t even take the time to research.

    Smh

  • http://gravatar.com/c0c0puffz c0c0puffz

    Something about dolls creep me out. The blonde one with the slanted eyes, looking permanently mad is scary.

  • Yb

    1. The average black woman doesn’t look that doll. Don’t use the images of your mother and the hole you were raised in to stereotype black women.

    2. What is this “our women” crap? You don’t own us and we don’t belong to you.

  • http://www.urbanexpressive.com J. Nicole

    I’m exhausted from having a debate on Facebook about this. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was not a Barbie and not marketed to kids. I could tell it was a collectors item for those weird adults who still buys toys. No one thought to research this, in fact a simple search in Google can show someone this is not a Barbie from Mattel. Yet, some guy posted “Where’s the petition”…. I said to him, if this actually was a Barbie, why would you be busy looking for one opposed to actually starting one?

    Frustrating!

  • Kam

    Why the dig at petition writers? Ya’ll still upset you can’t see some weave snatching Black doctors?

  • Camryn

    because apparently y’all have way too much time on your hands…go volunteer at a homeless shelter, go tutor some youth…stop being keyboard protesters.

  • Child, Please

    The problem with this is while dolls are collectors’ items, most people that I know and have come across buy dolls that resemble them. True, this may be a “fashion doll,” but this doll is for public consumption (much like the Barbie doll, which has been criticized to no avail) and will be critiqued as such. So, the “research” done would be null and void because people critique products for various reasons anyway. It’s nice to look at, I suppose, but I can’t help but think if this were brought to life (using the celebs mentioned), what people would say. (I’m sure it wouldn’t drift too far from what most Clutch commenters post or what this quoted individual stated). While, this isn’t marketed to a kid, they do have access to the internet and could quite possibly mistake this as a beloved Barbie doll and something they want to buy. I’d take it even further and say some might see their favorite pop star in this and want to buy it even more. That said, what happened to the fashion dolls that didn’t reveal cleavage or is art imitating art, rather than the opposite?

  • Anon

    People are obsessed with Beyonce’s skin color. The truth is… girl is light! The end. Yes she was darker when she first came out… because she’s from HOUSTON and the sun is a lot stronger down there. From the people I’ve known who have actually met her, they all said they were surprised at how small she was (she’s very fit), that she was taller than they thought, and that she’s very fair in person. There are other celebrities to be pressed about.

  • Anon

    Kam, my computer screen is now wearing the smoothie I was having. You know folks were ITCHING to see Dr.’s go at it. ITCHING. You know, “cause they ain’t no betta than them no way.”

  • Anon

    As was said earlier, many of us do both. WSHH has more than enough supply of daily ratchet.

  • JN

    That is a tanned Nicki Minaj right there.

  • Nick

    My first thought when i saw the image without reading the title of the post: “OH NO Lil Kim made a doll” lol. On a serious note, idk how to feel about this. I’m glad its not marketed to kids though.

  • http://gravatar.com/nolakiss16 binks

    I’ am not offended but I don’t think the doll is good (except for the second one with the fur) the original Barbie and the fashion doll with the blond hair is meh…

  • Kay

    As a doll collector (yes, I admit it! LOL!) I have collected all kinds of dolls and the funny thing about fashion dolls is that those are the only dolls that will actually feature beautiful dark skinned women with Afros. I have about three or four with natural hair, one of them was a collector’s item from an “Around the World,” collection featuring a woman from an actual African tribe. You won’t see that kind of things in stores. What I find so hypocritical about this back lash is that fashion dolls DO encompass diversity as well as more mainstream looks. I’ve never seen a Black Barbie at Wal-Mart with an Afro. Just sayin…..

  • Dawn

    I don’t find the doll offensive, in fact it’s kind of cute. However, I would gouge out my right eye with a stick and bash my teeth out on a rock before I would shell out $150 for one.

  • http://gravatar.com/jenbaltimore Jenna

    1. I wish Clutch would have solicited a black fashion doll collector like Debbie Garrett to address this issue

    2. This doll and others like has been around forever and the black women that collect them have had no issues

  • The Comment

    If black people would spend less time in the hair salon and more time developing an interest beside frying catfish and eating pork chops maybe they’d know that there are tons of hobbies out there that people like myself enjoy. One of them is collecting fashion dolls.

    I love the doll. I miniature Louis Vuitton multi-color in Sharleen (I’m guessing) is so cool!

    Like you beautifully said…….most dolls that really show black features are from collections.

    You wonder why??? Cause they know they won’t face a thousand 10 questions about (why didn’t you do this….and why didn’t you do that???).

    Stuff like this just irritates the f*ck out of me. Cause people who really appreciate this very delicate, intricate, high-fashion hobby have no problem with the doll……WHAT-SO-EVER!

  • The Comment

    and one more thing……….where are all these AFRICAN AMERICAN folks when fools be walking around with they pants hanging off the crack of they azz?????? Where are these people to get this crappy ass music off the air. Mint Condition should not be playing in some small venue…You feel me????

    Tired of these AA messing up for everybody but doing nothing for no one. You wanna complain……..do something for everyone vs. saying that offends me. Who gives 2 chits what offends you!

  • Ricika

    Whoever has $150 to waste on that fashion doll is welcome to it. I’m sticking to the $7.99 Black Barbies for my daughter. Still, I do have to say, that the Barbie doll clothes you find in toy stores are hoochy-looking and badly made. Makes me wish I could sew.

  • http://yahoo mystic77

    The fact that it is a fashion doll doesn’t offend me. The fact that it is a black woman does. If this ghetto fabulous mess, slightly exposed boobs, the suitcase for a handbag or pocketbook, and the blonde ponytail weave, complete with the slave gold chain, is a representation of today’s black fashion, I’m starting to understand why there’s a race problem in fashion!!!

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  • Come On

    Right? Maybe I just live too boring of a life, but I rarely see women dressed like that, and I’m in a major city with many, many black people.

    The dudes who come here keep me laughing.

    I think the doll looks pretty cool and fashionable actually. It’s a doll! And the average black woman doesn’t walk around dressed like that. And for the ones that do, I don’t have a problem with it because they are not the majority, and it’s their body and life. So it’s okay for JLo and Britney Spears to dress the way they dress, but Beyonce and Nicki Minaj are shaming the race because they have blonde weaves and cleavage. A Keri Hilson and a Beyonce here and there are not a problem for me when the majority of black women don’t have a blonde weave attached to their head.

    I checked that site Naturally Moi. The comments were funny. I mean they really do some crazy stuff with black women these days, but do people really think Mattel would actually make a Barbie like that.

    Also this doll looks nothing like Beyonce. They both have blonde hair, and that’s about it. Maybe in her Upgrade U video lol!

    Also other than the amount of cleavage shown and the blonde hair that people are so offended by, what is so different about this doll from those Bratz dolls they used to sell? It’s a glammed up doll that wasn’t even meant for children. Some folks like to jump to be keyboard activists before they even know what’s going on.

  • I mean

    Omg I accidently reported your comment. Im so sorry I was trying to +1 it. I hate touch screens, they will be the death of me

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