Friday Fun (But Is It Fun?): Barbie Princess Power

The lengths Mattel will go to, to revive their stuttering sales…

Photographer Jeff O'Brien Stylist Jennifer Shaw. From Mattel website.
Photographer Jeff O’Brien
Stylist Jennifer Shaw. From Mattel website.

Meet Barbie Princess Power. The following sentences are from their marketing material.

Kara is a modern-day princess with an everyday life. One day, after being kissed by a magical butterfly, Kara soon discovers she has amazing super powers allowing her to transform into Super Sparkle, her secret, crime-fighting alter ego who flies around the kingdom ready to save the day!

Her secret weapon: kindness, niceness and friendship. She transforms the baddies by appealing to their inner ‘nice guy’ – which, obviously, must come to the fore when they see the outfit she is wearing!

As if girls haven’t had enough of being told for generations that they need to be ‘nice’, friendly, kind, even when all around them the others aren’t. To keep a marriage together even if the husband is unkind, unloving, cheating, a bully, a drunk because ‘at least he doesn’t beat you.’ To continue to ‘seduce’ the husband with feminine wiles (and expensive make-up, depilation and lingerie) so that he doesn’t stray. To flatter the male CEO and not be too loud or self-assured in meetings. I’ve seen it in far too many of my friends – and in myself – that we are so concerned with making life comfortable for all the people in our lives, we are so busy bolstering everyone else’s ego, so keen to avoid conflict … that we are not doing ourselves any favours!

‘Nice’ people become martyrs. They most certainly do not win in life. Assertiveness does not mean we’re not ‘nice’.When can we have a superheroine Barbie who can be grumpy on occasion, strong, opinionated, as well as empathetic and gentle? When can we tell our daughters it’s fine to be demanding and selfish and real?