The Common Good
November-December 2001

Barbie Busting

by Rose Marie Berger, Susannah Hunter | November-December 2001

Never one to miss out on market share, Mattel's Girls Division has added "Quinceañera Barbie" as their first "Hispanic-tradition" theme doll. 

Never one to miss out on market share, Mattel's Girls Division has added "Quinceañera Barbie" as their first "Hispanic-tradition" theme doll. While the Mexican Quinceañera tradition is primarily religious-the most important component is a thanksgiving Mass held in honor of a girl when she turns 15-Mattel has opted for the "ethnic" approach with a mocha-toned Quinceañera Barbie wearing her beautiful gown and tiara of flowers.

The product launch was somewhat marred by reports from the Independent Monitoring Council identifying serious breaches of safety protocol in Mattel's manufacturing plant in Monterrey, Mexico. The audit found that working conditions on the assembly lines were unacceptable. Workers were forced to stand for as long as eight hours per shift, the general maintenance of the facility was substandard, and employees worked with hazardous equipment without protective gear.

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