Although at a first glance we may think that this Mexican Barbie shows the forwardness of our society, It was very disturbing to see this Barbie dressed in a Jalisco dress; included with a passport and a chihuahua. I just saw so many things wrong with this Barbie. Being a Folklorico dancer I always have to simplify my culture when asked what folklorico is. If I say, I dance traditional Mexican Dances ,people stare at me and they simply give me a nod. It is not until I say; "Its the Mexican dancing with the big colorful skirts," then they understand what I refer to when I say folklorico. That often makes me feel sad because to me folklorico is much more than dancing with big colorful skirts. There are many states in Mexico and each state has its style of dance and its own dress. Jalisco for some reason is the most widely known, prehaps because Folklorico Jalisco involves mariachis.
This Mexican Barbie is not only wearing the most widely known Mexican folkloric dress but it also carries a chihuahua. First of all I do not know any Mexican girl in Mexico who would be wearing traditional Folkloric dress and also carrying a chihuahua! Chihuahuas were named after the state in Mexico in which they were discovered. Chihuahua the state of Mexico is located in Northern Mexico. Jalisco on the other hand is located in central Mexico. There is no way a traditional Mexican girl from Jalisco would be carrying a dog that is not even abundant in her home town. Of course the reason that she is carrying the chihuahua is for the same reason she is wearing the Jaliso dress and that is because in America people connote Mexicanness with the Jalisco dress and chihuahuas. Many people do not understand the complexity of our culture. We do not only eat tacos and we do not all own chihuahuas nor are we all from Jalisco.
Furthermore to complicate things the Barbie is comes with a passport. Yeah like Homeland security is going to give a passport to a girl dressed like that and carrying a chihuahua. What they are doing here is cultural commodity. They are selling "Mexicanness" without fully understanding who we are. Not only that but they are also othering Mexicanness. They are saying; "look they are different than us in an exciting way but they are still inferior to us."
When I saw this Barbie I thought;"if only she was wearing a polka dress(associated with the northern region of Mexico) then this would make sense." Although this Barbie made me feel very uncomfortable with the consumer culture of our society, I did find a Mexican Barbie that I was more ok with.
This Doll is wearing a traditional Oaxaca dress, a dress that I particularly love. Yet many people would not know this is a traditional Mexican dress.
People who do not understand the complexity of our culture may not see anything worng with the Barbie with a passport but having a folklorico background I was very angry. At folklorico competitions judges take point off if you are not wearing the appropriate earings or flowers of the particular states. One year when our group danced Yucatan one judge took points off because a little string was hainging off of the dress. The dress is really important in traditional folklorico.
What would you like the Mexican Barbie to look like?