Mattel offers a second signature Barbie for Día de Muertos. Javier Meabe is again behind the designs, the same creator behind the recently released Gloria Estefan Barbie.
"I'm excited that we get to expand the world of Día De Muertos in the Barbie portfolio. We also get to see it come to life through the vision of Benito Santos, who also loves and celebrates the holiday," says Barbie Signature designer Javier Meabe.
Three models were released, including an already sold-out Benito Santos x Barbie Doll – available only to the Barbie Signature Members. Benito Santos is a world-renowned Mexican designer. You can check out his fall collection in Vogue Magazine.
As Meabe told the New York Times on the 2019 occasion of the release of the first Día de Muertos Barbie, "'I grew up going to Mexico and I pulled a lot of that inspiration and things that I remember growing up,' he said, adding that he fashioned the doll's dress after ones he saw his mother wear. 'That is something that is very dear to my heart,' Mr. Meabe said of the holiday. 'I know how important it is to honor and respect family and friends that are no longer with us.'"
How to reconcile creative expression within a political climate that targets migrants -particularly from Latin America, but not exclusively – for incarceration and deportation?
As was the case in 2019, the discussion of cultural appropriation in a capitalist society must be addressed. "I don't think Mattel has a genuine interest in Mexican culture," Gloria González-López, a sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin and a Mexican immigrant, told CNN, summing up much of the criticism against the company. "It's more an interest in making money. Who is this doll going to? Is it the Mexican worker who cleans homes? Are they identifying themselves with Barbie?… It's fascinating to see how these standards of beauty are placed on girls, and now we have another layer on top."
Mariluz Gonzalez, a co-host of the public radio program on KPFK in Los Angeles called "Travel Tips for Aztlan" similarly comments, "' It's obviously cultural appropriation, but — cómo te digo?' Ms. Gonzalez said. 'It's what our country loves to do. It's all about marketing. Is our culture benefiting economically because of that?' she continued. 'Is our government doing anything for us? And the raids, and all that, and we should be happy about a doll?'"
In some sense, capitalism itself is an extractive logic of organizing society. Capitalist culture, not simply organizing a capitalist economy, encourages the monetization of life, and deference to privatization and "the market", while instrumentalizing social relations as a means to an end. Consider that capitalism is the appropriation – of culture, minerals, or ideas – for profit and power.
Capitalism is legalized theft. This is not a new story. That Mattel is making money off of another culture is simply the American way of life, unfortunately. Think of the electronics companies that make tens of millions of dollars in profits off of the technology created by artists in the Bronx that invented "two turntables and a microphone." The invention of a new sound system with re-wired technologies transformed music on the planet. Did the inventors get any flow? Where is the intellectual property protection for these creative geniuses? Welcome to the Terrordome, only now the dome is adorned with cultural artifact to make you feel less – terror?