Today 21st of May is the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development so let's speak about Dolls of The World.
In the 80s with a golden era of Barbie beginning to bloom Mattel creates Dolls of the World and ,as its name denotes, they were Barbie dolls representing different etnias from around the planet, something very sought for by children and collectors. The dolls were beautiful and the quality was high, normal in the 80s and 90s nonetheless there was a "but" that created polemics...
And that "but" was that the line fell into some clichés and preconceived ideas of the etnias or country that, in some cases, didn't represent everyone or lead to some misconceptions exposed in the models and in the writings in the boxes.
The facemolds given to them were part of the polemics for one face represented several Dolls of the World for some waves, and that's "understandable" because although it would have been lovely to have a mold ethnically correct and even a body shape for each one, it would have been very expensive so the company opted for the standard pointed feet body and faces that could adapt to multiple nationalities each. Nonetheless some beautiful molds came from there to stay in the Barbie line like the oriental facemold or the hispanic facemold that were used after for characters like Kira, Miko or Dee Dee.
And while diversity is always welcome the fuss may had more to do with the fact that Dolls of the World were designed under a north american view of other and nationalities and ethnic groups even from their own country and, maybe, contrary to integrate these etnias in the daily life context of that time, they froze them on the past and put them on a folk context.
Dolls of the World evolved over time but always in tune with this traditional representation and folk style. They went from dolls for children to play to limited editions and to collector dolls until 2012 always followed by the polemics of a group or another that wasn't happy with the representation because they didn't really evolved enough to escape the clichés. Still, although with the information a little biased in this case, it's very important to provide children diverse dolls to play with and show them representations of other cultures at least as a start point to inmerse in them more and discover what is reality and what is cliché... We can't forget that Dolls of The World began in the 80s and that diversity always matter, sadly the world hasn't evolved on this matter, we are going backwards.