08 March 2014

Hey, Leave Our Toys Alone!

Normal Barbie
I said it here before, now I want to say it again: "Leave Our Toys Alone!"

A few months ago, we wrote about the useless attempt of toymaker Mattel to shift their production strategy and produce a 'fat' Barbie. No sales figures were released, but it’s not hard to second-guess that sale figures for this 'triple-chin' model is dismal.

Who in their right mind would buy a plus-size Barbie and let their children play with it? And what kind of kid would prefer an unhealthy body over a notoriously skinny, but attractive doll? Mattel could be helping girls “see themselves in the dolls available in the market,” but it surely is one way to ensure that their company won’t generate enough profit from the product.

News about the 'fat' Barbie went viral fast and this was followed by another trending topic featuring a 'normal' Barbie. Developed by Pittsburgh-based artist Nickolay Lamm, the new doll was molded using measurements for an average 19-year-old female and used this numbers on a 3-D model of a Barbie doll.

Incredulous things people think on their free time nowadays. What will they suggest next? A lesbian Barbie? A cross-dressing Barbie? Maybe they would even let the courts decide on the gender if only they have their own way.

However, this early, it is more likely that this so-called 'normal' Barbie won't be generating enough attention to generate the profits raked in by the original Barbie dolls. It's no wonder that Lamm’s friends had to resort to a media campaign to raise enough support to fund its production.

"If there's even a small chance of Barbie in its present form negatively influencing girls, and if Barbie looks good as an average-sized woman in America, what's stopping Mattel from making one?" Lamm noted before.

The answer as to why not many toymakers are venturing into the production of 'normal and ordinary' Barbies or dolls with thicker waist and thigh, not to mention sagging bellies, is because they are unattractive. They don’t catch the eye of children. And if toys do not catch the fancy of a child, then there is no sense in mass producing it unless it is from a company that relies on donors and sponsors to fund your operation.

Basic economics and finance with a small tint of marketing, dear Watson. Now let's go back to the realm of practical matters and put our misplaced sense righteousness at the back row.