Jul 27, 2011

Featured on BlogHer: An Open Letter to the Mattel Corporation

Sometimes kids say things that are so unexpected that parents are literally left staring, open-mouthed. We may do all the right things, consider every angle and point of impact that our decisions could have on our children, and we may think we know exactly how our children will respond. But kids always find a way to surprise us. It seems like children are determined to send their  parents into that wild realm of the unknown, making us doubt ourselves and worry that we are scarring them for life.

Flickr photo by joanna8555 
As a woman, I had my doubts about bringing Barbie in to my home. I read, soul-searched and rationalized the implications of having the iconic doll in my house. Even after all of that thinking, Barbie made her way into my girls' lives. From the musical movies where Barbie is hero to the dolls and accessories that have made her such a popular toy for decades, we bought into it all. I thought a lot about exposing my girls to this warped image of womanhood, but was impressed by how much Mattel has done to make Barbie a confident young role model for girls. And that's why I was so surprised when I gave my daughters new Barbies as gifts and they gave me such a shocking response. It was so shocking that I felt the need to write to the Mattel Corporation about it. 

Featured on BlogHer.com"An Open Letter to the Mattel Corporation," was first featured on Multicultural Familia and was recently picked up by BlogHer. You can read the letter and discuss it with the huge community of women on the website BlogHer.com, on Twitter (@BlogHer and @BlogHerCultures)
 and on the BlogHer Facebook page.

You can also read the original post at MulticulturalFamilia.com, a wonderful e-zine dedicated to sharing information and ideas with modern families.

I encourage any readers wo would like to share their thoughts on Barbie to send their own letters to the Mattel Corporation.  I sent this post to corporate.communications@mattel.com and received a response from ConsumerServiceCenter@fisher-price.com.  The more they hear from concerned parents, the more likely they are to make positive changes to their products.

Have your children ever shocked you with their response to something you gave them? Have they ever shed light on a slice of humanity that you'd never before considered? Out of the mouths of babes can come some very insightful things...


  1. Jen, this is awesome!  I'm so happy that you are featured on BlogHer and I hope that this brings more attention to the issue!  Definite, I will be writing a letter!  ;)

  2. Thanks, Chantilly! I appreciate you giving me the chance to post the piece on Multicultural Familia and am honored that BlogHer featured it. Hope it gives more exposure to both the issue and to the wonderful e-zine you started! If you write a letter and get a response from Mattel, please let me know (if Mattel doesn't claim "Trade Secrets" lol...)

  3. Haha! No problem! I'll let you know! :)

  4. You wrote a really compelling letter to Mattel, Jen. Congrats on BlogHer picking it up! I can only imagine how your daughter's response must've hit you when it was the furthest thing from what you expected. Sometimes I wonder if I'd feel differently about Barbie if I had a daughter. I know they try hard over at Mattel by promoting her different careers, but still can't help but feel that her unrealistic body image is the last thing young girls need. The lack of diversity in all other aspects of their merchandising simply adds another layer of "ick."

    Remember those awful Bratz dolls?


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