Dear Mattel: Let’s chat about “news anchor” Barbie

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.

Ugh.

“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.

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4 thoughts on “Dear Mattel: Let’s chat about “news anchor” Barbie

  1. You are absolutely correct. We need to teach our daughters what the real world looks like. I agreed pink may be fine for little girls but not for professional women.

    1. I guess I should amend my comments about pink. I like pink for kids and pink for social and personal events. And pink is OK in the workplace, too, if done right. But it can’t be like the Barbie obsession with pink.

      I don’t think I’ve ever seen Condi Rice or Hillary Clinton or Nancy Pelosi in a pink suit!

  2. I think the “choking hazard” warning should be extended to all ages…

    The concept of creating Barbies with career ambitions is admirable, but we all know that, in the real world, the women who aspire to be anchors are usually not the ones interested in the pursuit of journalism but that of vanity.

    Why did Mattel choose anchor? Why not reporter, editor, publisher or producer? The fact is, no matter the decade, Barbie has been and always will be a “talking head.” (Tangent: I had a talking Barbie. These were literally the things she said: “I love shopping”; “Let’s have a pizza party”; “Math class is tough.” That was in the ’90s.)

    By the way, I have an Ernie Pyle war reporter GI Joe. He’s not wearing a pink skirt suit.

    1. Elisha, I want to see your Ernie Pyle GI Joe!!

      I had a Barbie, too. I bought her with my own money, I picked “day-to-night” Barbie who was some sort of career woman by day with a pink suit that turned into a ball gown at night. No joke. 🙂

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