'Hijab Barbie' targets culturally sensitive moms and dads
I pity those politically correct parents who have an extraordinarily difficult time finding suitable toys for their children. Just about everything out there is culturally insensitive in some way – or worse, advances the patriarchal hierarchy.
But Mattel, Inc. may have found a solution for harried parents who are so worried about bad influences on their children. In January 2016, Mattel completely redid its line of Barbies, adding 23 new dolls of every shape, size, and hue. The campaign was a smashing success and was credited with bringing Barbie back from near oblivion.
This year, Mattel has added a "Hijab Barbie" so Muslim girls don't feel left out.
A what? Yes, it's true. Mattel has brought out a "modestly dressed" Muslim doll, presumably targeting not only Muslim parents, but also those guilty white moms and dads who want to show their daughters (and these days, sons) how to be tolerant of all people's beliefs. Of course, if the neighbors see the kid playing with Hijab Barbie, all the better. Parents then can engage in a little virtue-signaling, proving how much better they are than everyone else.
A great piece on Hijab Barbie from James Robbins in USA Today:
Some conservatives have criticized Mattel for hijab Barbie. Yes, it is obviously a nod to political correctness and a transparent attempt to keep the Barbie franchise edgy. Muslim modesty is in, both as a fashion and political statement. And the political angle is why we are unlikely to see other avatars of feminine modesty such as evangelical Barbie wearing a cross or frum Orthodox Jewish Barbie in her sheitel. How about Amish Barbie? Buggy sold separately.
Is there a big demand for hijab Barbie? Mattel thinks so. One obvious market for the doll is the liberal, non-Muslim parent who wants to make a statement to the world about tolerance and intersectionality.
This is the kind of person who dresses a baby boy in pink to trap the unwary into an uncomfortable/sanctimonious discussion about gender roles. These parents will have a special glow of virtue about them in the checkout line. In fact, they will make a special effort to go to the mall instead of ordering online so they can chat up the patient checkout person about the social importance of their purchase.
But kids love to experiment with juxtaposition, so what happens on Christmas morning when their girls (or boys, whatever!) immediately put hijab Barbie into a skimpy bikini? Odds are they will get a stern lecture on cultural sensitivity. Because really, kids, this isn't about you having fun; it's about your parents sticking it to Trump.
Whatever gives these liberal parents a merry Christmas.
Another potential market (probably not for Christmas) is conservative Muslim parents who want a toy that expresses and helps transmit their values. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. America in part originated as a haven for religious groups seeking to build communities that practiced a way of life based on their beliefs. This is one of the meanings of Thanksgiving, the parable of the pilgrims. A strong and vibrant nation is rooted in family values. It is an expression that conservatives use with affection and one that makes liberals wince.
If hijab Barbie helps preserve a form of cultural identification, then great. It's a free country. But on the other hand, it would be a mistake to assume that all kids born into a certain culture want to remain in it. This is an intellectual shortcoming of identity politics, the insistence that you are defined by a group affiliation over which you have no choice. But part of living in a free country is the ability to adopt social mores other than the ones you grew up with, or inherited from a country where such choices are non-existent.
Why would we want to "transmit the values" represented by the hijab? The garment is first and foremost an invention of male Muslims who want to keep their wives and daughters slaves. It also represents a strict interpretation of sharia law, that is anti-democratic, anti-Western, and anti-human.
The first black Barbie appeared in 1968, although it wasn't until 1980 that Mattel marketed a black Barbie to black parents. Strangely, the 1968 version had black features, while the 1980 version looked just like white Barbie but with chocolate skin.
What will Mattel think of next? The obvious choice is "Tranny Barbie" for all those gender-confused five-year-old kids. Such a doll will almost certainly be "anatomically correct," or how would you be able to tell the difference from the original?