Girls Just Wanna Play With Dolls

Mattel has recently released Barbie versions of Joan Jett, Cyndi Lauper and Debbie Harry as part of its "Ladies of the 80s" series. Stare into the empty plasticized eyes of your youth!!

I'd rather see a child playing with a Joan Jett doll than Malibu Beach Barbie or a Bratz, but the dolls still look pretty much like your everyday Barbie (with a few alterations for individual features) gussied up in rock star costumes. They're marketed as collector's items, but they're only $35 – more expensive than a regular Barbie, but still affordable enough to be actual playthings for actual children. Rock stars being marketed as superhuman idols is standard, but it is strange that such openly sexual and endlessly sexualized music icons are being immortalized in plastic, anatomically incorrect form. But if a Joan Jett doll can lead a little girl to Joan Jett's music, attitudes and activism, then maybe it's not such a bad idea.

Barbie was never this badass.

What do you think? Does the "Ladies of the 80s" series elevate Mattel, or does it degrade the women it portrays? And is it wrong that I kind of want one?

by Sara Reihani
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6 Comments Have Been Posted

errr . . . don't you need

errr . . . don't you need the permission of a person to make a doll of their likeness to sell? is that something we should be discussing?

Joan Jett doll

I think the Joan Jett doll kinda looks more like Siouxsie Sioux. Undecided yet how I feel about Mattel marketing rock stars. Perhaps it's a good thing, but maybe they could put more effort into anatomically correct. And little girls probably won't play with them unless mommy who knows who joan is gives it to her. I think these dolls are more collectors' items than anything.

Thank you for the post, i am

Thank you for the post, i am quite impressed.

Personally I love them, as

Personally I love them, as collector items only. For 80's nostalgia. Degrading women? Näää. but giving young girls the wrong idea about body image, yes.

The thing that bothers me

The thing that bothers me the most is that to be a celebrity Barbie Doll (or any doll) is to have a real person "adjusted" to look more glamourous and "pretty" than who they are based on.
I'm a little afraid when kids go to investigate the real Joan Jett they'll find someone scrubby and weird and HUMAN and be turned off. I'm hoping that's not going to happen....but who knows...
Also: I'm a little horrified that some of my bratty adolescent idols are now Barbies. Egads.

Frankly speaking, their

Frankly speaking, their dolls look too "sweet" for representing the badass women of the 80's. I know that little girls don't care about sexy Cyndi Lauper, but those who remember her won't see any resemblance in that bland Barbie, don't you think so?
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By the way, have you seen amazing Patricia Day?
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