Yes, Argentine parents and even international tourists are chaperoning their little princesses to Mattel’s first retail store featuring everything for the Barbie wannabe, including clothing and costumes, tea and pastry shop, and even a hair salon (for hair and makeup). Girls can now beg their moms to schedule their birthday parties at Casa Barbie. You can read all about it in the Los Angeles Times.
In a country where anorexia, obsession with appearance, and the sweet tooth are more or less “normal,” it will probably be a huge hit. The brainchild of an Argentine marketer, there are already two shops on Santa Fe and Scalabrini Ortiz. Won’t it be a little ironic if this consumerist feminine fantasy is then exported back to the US?! (Or am I the only girl who never wanted to grow up to be a princess?)
The US Barbie phenomenon forced me to allow my own daughter to have Barbie dolls (or else throw away presents from others), and I hope by now, at age 27, that she has forgiven me for not buying her that Barbie house she put on her list to Santa.
So what will I do when she or her brother sends us those future granddaughters from California and Massachussets to visit me, and they clamor to visit the Barbie store?
Why, of course I will take them. . . and then give them a really nice tennis racquet or better yet, a soccer ball for their birthdays. That would be the responsible thing to do as a feminist in Argentina!
Luckily I have a few years to figure this one out.