Most of the Barbies we had growing up were blonde, blue-eyed homemakers with oven mitts and aprons. Yawn! Now, as HelloBeautiful reports, Mattel is flipping the script and creating Barbies with entrepreneurial goals and professional attire — knee-length dress, briefcase, smartphone, and iPad included!
Barbie, focusing less on vanity and materialism, is morphing into a brand spankin’ new role model for little girls. The change of direction was announced at The New York Toy Fair. But people are wondering if this is less about promoting career-minded tots and more of a marketing ploy. After all, Bryan Stockton — Mattel’s CEO — admitted that Barbie’s sales dropped 13 percent earlier this year.
During its 55-year history, Barbie has never been a business owner. But at the same time, career-focused Barbies aren’t a novelty. In the 60s, Mattel introduced Barbie with a cap and gown at a time when only 5.8 percent of women held Bachelor’s degrees.
She’s been a veterinarian, surgeon, pediatrician, dentist, a diplomat, and even a presidential candidate. Not sure Entrepeneur Barbie is pioneering enough to call a “publicity stunt,” but it certainly is grabbing national attention and could very well help drive up Mattel’s disappointing sales.
Barbie may have her hair pulled back, but she’s certainly not leaving behind her M.O. of being a fashion-forward woman:
“Ready for the next big pitch, Barbie Entrepreneur doll wears a sophisticated dress in signature pink that features modern color blocking and a sleek silhouette. Luxe details, like a glam necklace, cool clutch and elegant hairstyle, are smart, professional touches,” Mattel’s official site says.
Marilyn Nagel, a CEO herself, supports the concept of “Entrepreneur Barbie,” but isn’t a fan of Mattel’s focus on looks.
“It’s nice to have a Barbie that talks about women as entrepreneurs, but it’s important that you don’t see a difference in the look in particular. The big challenge is that we need to have visual images for girls of a variety of looks [and] body styles … that embody the diversity of reality,” Nagel, CEO of woman’s leadership non-profit Watermark, told Fox Business.
Entrepreneur Barbie hits selves in June for $12.99.