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.
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?