Why pit serious, ambitious, worthy, uber-powerful and uber-achieving women politicians against the sexist hyper-blonde stereotype of a woman who never talks, is unrealistically proportioned and whose whole function in life is to be played around with? Simply merge the two – et voila, you have the Angela Merkel Barbie doll.
This bizarre conjunctive clashing of two wholly opposing cultures is, makers Mattel tell us, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the Barbie doll. Of course, Merkel doesn’t look like Merkel. She looks like Barbie with a bob and trouser suit.
A spokesperson for Mattel said of Merkel, “She's simply a good role model for girls around the world." Well, that’s true enough. But do people buy Barbies for their kids to demonstrate roll-model-equeness? And if they do, surely the kind of parents who think the wet dream of Hugh Heffner personified (or objectified, as the case may be) is a suitable play-thing are not the same parents who think their kids should be aspiring to Angela Merkel? We wonder where exactly Merkel will be featured on the Barbie site (see above). Next to Mariposa, maybe? Tucked away inconspicuously in a corner behind the enormous Liberaci-ate-Strictly-Come-Dancing-then-vomited-it-up-in-a-sea-of-sparkles ballgown, perhaps?
Somehow, we just can’t quite gauge where this doll fits in with Barbie brand values.
What do you think? Marketing mishap, or good step towards getting young kids interested in politics? Best seller or foolish flop? Post your comments and join the debate!