Just another foray into material culture and girlhood studies

Here we have “Eskimo Barbie” from 1982:


Eskimo Barbie doll is ready to brave the cold weather in her faux fur-trimmed outfit. She’s a mirage of beauty, dressed from head to toe in white fabric accented with black trim and fringed-style fur. – via BarbieCollector.com

And “Arctic Barbie” from 1997:


From one of the coldest regions on earth comes a doll to warm your heart. Arctic Barbie doll, from the Dolls of the World Collection, is dressed in an outfit styled after that worn by natives of the northern latitudes. Her fleecy parka has white faux fur trim on the hood, sleeves and hem. The latter two items are accented with a wide gold, red and green braid. Two golden cords tie at the neck to keep out the Arctic winds. The matching fleecy pants are tucked into her mukluks and are embellished with white “fur” and red stitching. Her face is framed by the white “fur” that adorns her hood. – via BarbieCollector.com

Do you think that Mattel’s shift from faux-fur to mukluks is indicative of broader social changes and greater cultural understanding on a quest for stronger links between human communities, or an inappropriate, if vaguely Politically Correct, marketing ploy (links to a great article by Anne DuCille, “Toy Theory: Black Barbie and the Deep Play of Difference”)?

Do you wonder why I am on such a doll kick lately? Me, too.

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