Barbie as a Man


When I was online earlier today I noticed that once again Mattel had released a new Barbie celebrating a pop culture icon. This time it was Elton John.

Barbie as Elton John

It’s become quite a trend to release Barbie collectibles like this where she represents a male character and I have to say I don’t get it. Before Elton there was the David Bowie Barbie. I heard about this doll long before there were photos and waited eagerly to see what the doll would be like. I have to say I was disappointed. David Bowie as a doll would have been fabulous. Instead we got Barbie’s tribute to David Bowie, not the same thing at all. I would have preferred something more like the ‘Barbie loves Elvis” or “Barbie Loves Frank Sinatra” type issues with Barbie and the actual character together. I realise that this may not always be possible because of copyright laws or permissions from the estates of the people concerned but still I was disappointed.

Barbie as David Bowie

Then there are the Star Wars dolls. Star Wars has some strong female characters and I’m fine with Mattel making Barbie as those. But why do they have to make Barbie as Darth Vader, C3PO or a Stormtrooper? OK Stormtroopers might be women, we can’t see under their armour but Darth Vader is most definitely not a woman! How can you have a female Darth Vader saying “Luke, I am your father?” No, no, no!

Mind you I probably would buy a de-boxed Darth to redress because I think she is a pretty cool looking.

Barbie as Darth Vader

The first time I ever saw this idea from Mattel was Barbie as George Washington, this was back in 1996 and was an FAO Schwarz limited edition. I had barely begun to collect dolls at the time and thought it was a weird idea to be honest.

Barbie as George Washington

In a way I feel it shows Mattel’s disinterest in doing anything much with Ken. They could have had Ken’s tribute to Bowie or Elton John, but no, they had to use Barbie. Naomi and I were talking the other week about the fact that Ken will turn 60 next year and wondering what Mattel will do for him. I’m not optimistic as the 50th anniversary was celebrated by “Happy Birthday Ken” a Barbie doll. I love Barbie of course but this really annoys me. However, that is a whole other post and I won’t do two ranty posts on the same day.

Happy Birthday Ken

So what do others think of Barbie in male guise? Do you like them purely as dolls to display? Do you think that Mattel should stick to portraying her as a woman? There are plenty of interesting women Barbie can be as we already know from “Inspiring Women”.

Note: As I don’t own any of these dolls I have lifted their photos from Mattel.com and stock photos used by eBay sellers.

7 comments

  1. I’m not sure how I feel about Barbie as a male icon because I don’t buy them for that reason. I understand where you’re coming from though. I am not an Elton John or a David Bowie fan so I didn’t even think about buying them. But I have purchased two of the Star Wars dolls and immediately redressed them because I like the dolls, not because I like the concept of Barbie as a Star Wars character.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Darth Vader looks like Anne Hathaway to me..maybe I might redress one like that..the theme thing might be hitting all the custome theme dolls..It doesn’t bother me..the costumes are Gorgeous.They might work on clone males.Maybe I’m used to guy dolls in drag..almost seems like this.I might buy one if they were a reasonable price.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think they are ‘Barbie inspired by’ rather than ‘Barbie as’ and I don’t have a problem with them. It’s just one icon paying tribute to another. Some more Ken dolls would be appreciated though.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. To tell the truth, I have never really thought of them as anything other than Barbie inspired rather than Barbie dressing up as a man. I have more problem with the W Club RuPaul dolls which are downright ugly. The StarWars dolls were done rather well I thought, and I really didn’t like the David Bowie doll or the Elton John doll. But it would to be honest, have been neat to have seen Ken dressed as Bowie or Elton John. As well as the Ken dolls dressed as Star Wars dolls- but – here again- SideShow has already done that in the actual character representations.
    I look at the dolls as Barbie playing dress-up, I have the George Washington doll and she is a beautifully detailed doll, much more so than the dolls they put out now.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Interesting to see how many different viewpoints there are on this subject. Personally, I would rather have seen a male David Bowie and Elton John, even if Mattel used the Ken sculpt and not a facial likeness of these singers. I’m not a Star Wars fan, but even if I was I wouldn’t be buying these Barbie dolls as they are $140 CAD and higher here in Canada. I think that’s too much for Mattel’s quality.
    I actually like Integrity’s RuPaul dolls – the original version and the newer version.
    Like they say, different strokes for different folks.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s quite right. I haven’t seen the Integrity ones, you can’t buy them easily here anyway so out of my budget but it is interesting to hear what people think, the main reason that I wrote the post,. It’s always fun to have some discussion.

      Like

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