I nearly choked when I saw the news on Twitter that Mattel is coming out with a journalist Barbie.
First, I was excited. Then, I actually looked at the product.
“Barbie I Can Be … News Anchor” features Barbie with a ridiculous pink skirt suit, way-too-high heels, camera, microphone and — wait for it — a pink “news” folder!
Just in time for the holiday season! Mattel sets back the women’s movement 40 years!
I’d include a photo, but I don’t want to incur the wrath of Mattel for using their images. So click on over to Mattel and check Barbie out for yourself.
Now, when I heard “journalist Barbie,” I imagined Barbie in cool trousers, cute flats, button-down shirt, notebook in hand, pen behind her ear, hair pulled up, ready to take on the world. You know — a better version of what real reporters are like.
Of course a more realistic version would involve a very harried Barbie, juggling a ringing phone, hundreds of e-mails to answer, a lying politician to track down, an editor barking endless demands, a pen running out of ink, a blog to update, etc. She’d be wearing five-year-old clothes from the Gap, or maybe Target, probably with a button missing on her shirt. She’d be eating lunch from a vending machine.
The Los Angeles Times had a similar (and funnier) take. Actually, just search for “news anchor Barbie” and you’ll find plenty of merciless teasing.
I didn’t expect journalist Barbie to be super-realistic, but, like I said, a cleaned-up, prettier version of a real journalist.
Instead, we get this puffy, 1970s impression of a bimbo news anchor. Blech.
Now I don’t know any news anchors, but I’ve crossed paths with plenty of female TV reporters over the years. Their outfits aren’t perfect, but they are good enough to look nice on TV. They don’t totter around in high heels, because they’ve got sources to chase down just like me. And they don’t wear pink. No professional woman wears pink.
Anyone else want to send Mattel back to the drawing board?
What would you like to see from a journalist Barbie? Or a journalist Ken? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
UPDATE, Sept. 28: Today, I was alerted to this great post on Barbie by Tina Phan, multimedia editor of the University Star newspaper at Texas State University. Be sure to check out her version of a journalist Barbie.