Mattel, the creators of Barbie, decided it was high time they ask their target market what it is they really want. Their demographic is girls aged between three and 10 and, as their enormous global research revealed, these kids are pretty disillusioned by the dearth of female superheroes in the world. In fact nine in 10 girls felt this way. Of course, this is not feedback you can ignore. Thus, Mattel acted swiftly and smartly, coming across with their very own caped crusader Barbie. Superhero Barbie, as you’ll see below, comes complete with a glittery, pink (obviously) cape, mask and a whole host of supportive, furry sidekicks.
Great news, right?
Well, it’s certainly a move in the right direction, that is, until we learn of one of Mattel’s key survey questions. Participants had to either agree or disagree with the following statement: “superheroes are more fun than princesses.” As over half of the kids couldn’t say that this was true, Mattel decided to retain the princess element of Barbie and mix it with the superhero. So she’s a glitter-loving princess who fights crime and isn’t afraid to get her hands dirty. The fear, you see, is that little girls might not be interested were she not still of royal blood.
“Girls don’t want to choose”, says Mattel. Why she couldn’t have been a straight up superhero will remain beyond us. Being a superhero in itself is pretty cool, no?
“Girls expect Barbie to do the same things that they would want to do if they were superheroes. They see Barbie flying, beating bad guys, and also helping people and animals while wearing something sparkly,”
There’s a movie coming too.
And we wonder why gender stereotypes perpetuate?