Día de Muertos Barbie: Respectful Tribute, or ‘Obviously Cultural Appropriation’?

By Sandra E. Garcia
Mattel's newly released doll, adorned with motifs associated with the Mexican holiday, has raised concerns about the watering down of a 3,000-year-old tradition.
In Mexican culture, the Día de Muertos — or Day of the Dead — is when the gateway between the living and the dead is said to open, a holiday during which the living honor and pay respects to loved ones who have died. A new Día de Muertos Barbie, released on [September 12], was intended less as a portal into the realm of the dead and more as a gateway into Mexican culture. At least that is what Mattel is hoping for. Many have expressed worries about cultural appropriation and the use of a 3,000-year-old tradition for profit. The man who designed the Barbie, Javier Meabe, 34, said he drew from his Mexican heritage and his personal experiences celebrating Día de Muertos as a boy.[More]
The designer of the new Día de Muertos Barbie said the doll’s dress was inspired by outfits he saw his mother wear.