Barbie, at once a gender pioneer and enabler of countless anorexics, has found her newest role: human-machine hybrid.
Barbie Photo Fashion is just like any other digital photog out there — immaculate blonde hair, chunky heart-bejewelled belt, eyes the size of pancakes and an enormous LCD implanted in her abdomen. Instead of a DSLR, however, her shooter of choice is the lens sticking out of her back. When I saw her at Toy Fair, I joked to the Mattel rep creepily dressed to resemble her, So, Nikon or Canon? But instead of replying, she just stared at me and I saw my reflection in her grin, and the world seemed cold and alien to me. Then I looked back at Barbie Photo Fashion (shouldn’t it be Fashion Photo Barbie?) and saw my face framed by cupcakes, just one of the Fun customisations allowed. The screen looks awful, but it’s OK– I felt better. It’s lame that Mattel stereotypes girls, thinking the easiest way to put a digital camera into a young female’s hands is by smuggling it inside a doll, but maybe it’ll spark an interest in photography that wouldn’t start otherwise.
Barbie Photo Fashion will cost $US50 when she walks into toy stores later this year. She comes with a pink, glittery USB cord.