Thursday, September 4, 2008

Barbie, Midge, Fulla and Razanne

I never did get a Barbie when I was a girl; my parents bought me Midge. My Midge had freckles and flipped out reddish ginger hair. I immediately disliked her. She wasn't the "real thing", i.e. Barbie. She looked "different", i.e. not the blonde-haired Barbie that was the heart's desire of many girls. Well, at least I didn't get Skipper, which was the doll my little sister, Della, got. My sister, Katja, being the older sister, did get Barbie. Her Barbie looked very 60s with her short blonde bubble cut hair-do and cat eyes. Mostly, I sewed my own doll outfits. Even back then we couldn't afford to buy them, and now! seeing the prices charged for vintage Midge and Barbie outfits, oh boy! Those little plastic shoes that always got lost? They're $150 a pkg today. A 1960s Barbie: $1524.

Find your Barbie Katja and sell it on e-bay!

Seems that 50s and 60s Barbie stuff is the stuff of dream collections, too, these days, for different nostalgic reasons.

Some people suffer no such nostalgia, but re-signify Barbie, giving others a fright.

Still others want to transform Barbie into more pleasing molds. Get rid of her cleavage. Her "Western" look.

Even Mattel in seeking new markets, produces a series of collectors dolls that include a Moroccan Barbie and Leila, "a Muslim slave girl in an Ottoman court". Orientalism for children.

Saudi Arabia banned Barbie. Then a Syrian company jumped into the market and created Fulla, who they marketed as a kinder, modest version of Barbie. Who doesn't lie. Yet,

"Despite the effort to create an Islamic fashion doll, Fulla and Barbie are more closely related than the Saudis and others might like to admit. Fulla may frequent the souks of the Mideast and Barbie may hang out in the malls of America, but they were "born" in the same place - China."

Some girls, however, still prefer Barbie:

"Jyza Sybai , a lanky, tomboyish Saudi 10-year-old, visiting Syria with her family for a short vacation, disagreed. 'All my friends have Fulla now, but I still like Barbie the best," Jyza said. "She has blond hair and cool clothes. Every single girl in Saudi looks like Fulla, with the dark hair and the black scarf. What's so special about that?'"

"Beyond symbolising the ideal Muslim woman, Fulla also reflects a growing trend towards the commercialisation of Islam by entrepreneurs who have realised the gains to be made in selling Islamic values."

Cashing in on dollydom, Razanne was created. You can buy her online and shop by theme. Razanne has proven to be very popular as every single one online is Out of Stock

even the ones that don't seem quite right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great Article.