Día de los Muertos Barbie Walks a Fine Line Between Cultural Appropriation and Appreciation

Mattel’s doll offers a nod to the Mexican tradition without much else

barbies with dia de los muertos makeup and dresses
Mattel's Día de los Muertos Barbie had traditional makeup and dress, inspired by what the creator's mother used to wear. Barbie

Mattel is no stranger to criticism over its Barbie brand. From limited, gender-specific professional choices to unrealistic body standards, the toy company has navigated its fair share of complaints involving the 60-year-old doll. Though Mattel has introduced several diverse, groundbreaking dolls this year—including the Barbie Fashionista line featuring two dolls with physical disabilities, the Inspiring Women series with civil rights leader Rosa Parks and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo and its latest release of gender-neutral dolls—the brand’s Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, Barbie straddles the fine line between cultural appropriation and appreciation.

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@janelmwrites Janel Martinez is a Bronx-based writer and founder of award-winning site Ain't I Latina?, an online destination celebrating Afro-Latinas.