Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday in early November where the living honor their loved ones who have died. It is said the gateway between the living and the dead is open during this day.
In celebration of the holiday, Mattel announced the release of Día de Muertos Barbie doll as part of their Holiday & Special Occasion collection. Inspired by the Mexican holiday, the $75 doll is dressed in a floor-length black gown adorned with flowers, skulls, and butterflies. Her makeup is inspired by the skull often worn in celebration of the holiday.
Many people online were excited for the release of the new doll, however, others felt that the doll was appropriating Mexican culture.
In response to the doll, Twitter user @TravelMexico75 tweeted, “Is this a bad joke or what? #Mattel toy company plans the release and promotion of a Day of the Dead barbie… Dia de los Muertos is one of our most sacred traditions in Mexico dating back to prehispanic days. STOP PRODUCTION!”
Another Twitter user, @DarKKawaii said, “As fierce/cool as this doll is, it feels odd that a day of the dead Barbie is being made by an American company for profit + novelty…”
José Higuera López, deputy director of the Jamie Lucero Mexican Studies at Lehman College told the New York Times, “I think we have to be careful in the way we portray our celebrations as Mexicans. It’s important that it is not a parody of the celebration, and more of a representation of Latinos.”
Mariluz Gonzalez added, “It’s obviously cultural appropriation, but it’s what our country loves to do. It’s all about marketing.”
Despite the cultural appropriation concerns, a lot of people are still excited about the doll. The Barbie went on sale on September 12 and sold out the same day. Due to high demand, Mattel is”working hard to get more in stock.”
In repsonse to the doll, Twitter user @YappDats_Me said, “I love how versatile @Barbie are making themselves. This Day of the Dead Doll is lit.”
According to the New York Times, the doll was inspired by designer Javier Meabe’s Mexican heritage and his memories of celebrating Día de Muertos as a child. Dresses worn by Meabe’s mother even served as inspiration for the doll’s gown.
“I grew up going to Mexico and I pulled a lot of that inspiration and things that I remember growing up,” Meabe said. “I know how important it is to honor and respect family and friends that are no longer with us.”
Do you think Día de Muertos Barbie is celebrating Mexican culture or appropriating it? Let us know in the comments.