I ran into this piece on NBC recently.
Now don’t get me wrong, I like the idea of this doll and if I had a daughter it would be on my list as a gift. I like the idea of a cool person that goes to cool places like Akihabara. Been there, done that.
Still I can’t but help the virtue signaling that seems to surround the creation. It seems that the emphasis isn’t to create a cool doll for girls to play with, but to send the right diversity signals. And that’s just wrong.
Let’s contrast that with the effort of Danny Choo to produce a doll. Now Danny is sort of an odd duck, being the son of noted shoe designer Jimmy Choo who made his own way to Japan working for various companies such as Amazon and Microsoft. He started a blog and website about ten years or so ago and as a way of demonstrating his web programming skills by buying cool otaku stuff in Akihabara and blogging about it. this sort went from Gundams to figure to finally large dolls generically known as dolphies. A while back he put an April fools post where he stated that he was going to make a “smart doll” a doll filled with robotics. This led through some enthusiastic help to actually making the doll for real based on his character Mirai Suenga.
In strong contrast to Yuna above there’s no virtue signaling, just people trying to have fun. Mirai doesn’t try to be Asian because well she is, coming right from Tokyo. And Danny isn’t trying to be anything that he isn’t. In fact his marketing approach is very laid back, just like he is.
His latest desk diary.
But there’s been some Barbie news lately to add to this post. turn out that Barbie wasn’t always the superwoman that we were led to believe. while she may be a doctor/astronaut now there are some interesting twists to the Barbie story
I just learned about Barbie’s, or rather Lilli’s, rather sordid past.
What is this? Did Barbie, or should I say Lilli sugar daddy her way through college? Did she sleep her way through medical school in Berlin? Of course her American history is not without scandal. Before Barbie’s celebrity status Mattel wasn’t quite the toy giant.
Time Magazine has a frenzy of articles about the new PC Barbie. Somehow I get the feeling that Mattel has lost the point. From beginning to end Barbie was never about reality. Barbie was a fantasy and the unrealistic way she looked only emphasized that. Little girls these days get enough reality, maybe the toymakers should remember that they are about living the fantasy.
Of course if fantasy is called for, there are other options. The Japanese have that covered.
In the end I thing that we adults need to remember more about innocence and fantasy that was part of being a child and less about inflicting children with prejudice and bigotry. Even if that prejudice and bigotry is in the name of diversity. It shouldn’t matter to the child that Yuna is an Asian American or that Mirai is blond. And don’t get me started on Lilli/Barbie. The less little girl know about here past the better off their parents are. Lets let the kids have their fantasies and keep the PC stuff for adults.