There's probably no other toy that could inspire so much dreams and criticisms all at the same time than the iconic doll by the American toy company Mattel, Inc.
Since it was introduced in the 1960s, Barbie has been constantly under the critical eyes of women's groups, calling it a representation of a cliché of the female role in society. To the radicals, the doll falls short of a good role model to the young girls.
Yet despite of all the negative feedback that she has been getting, the world's most famous doll doesn't seem to get shaken. If anything, she continues to be on top of her game.
Now in her 50s, Barbie remains one of the items in every girl's wish list. In fact, this year a new movie entitled "Barbie in the Pink Shoes" was released along with a new collection of dolls inspired by the said film. Two Barbie Dreamhouse exhibits were also opened in Berlin, Germany and Florida in the U.S.
In the Philippines, children's product distributor Richprime Global Inc. together with Ballet Philippines recently held a mini ballet show on Kristyn Faraday, Barbie's new role in the film. Kristyn is a ballerina whose magical pink shoes take her to the fantasy world of ballet.
Dubbed "Barbie in the Pink Shoes: Dance from Your Heart," the event's highlight was Ballet Philippine's performance of the world's most famous ballet pieces.
BALLET AND DOLLS
Weekends are supposed to be spent with the family and that's exactly what Mickey Añego did. The 10-year-old Barbie fan came to the Barbie in the Pink Shoes ballet performance with her parents and older sister. Mickey's fascination with Barbie started when she was six. She said she has probably watched every Barbie movie there is and enjoyed most of them.
Meanwhile, Maureen Dungan marched to the SM Aura Premiere garbed in a pink tutu. The nine-year-old Barbie fan has just started ballet dancing, adding that Barbie has inspired her to dance. She also believes that the doll which sometimes takes on the role of a teacher instilling values to kids, is a good model for young girls like her.
Her mother, also dressed in pink and a Barbie collector, said that probably every girl has had a Barbie fascination at one point in her life.
Mickey and Maureen had their Barbie-look done in the pink make-up booth while waiting for the performance to start. Maureen tried the free mini ballet tutorial at the Ballet Manila booth, while some girls busied themselves by creating works of art in the art booth. Others had their photos taken beside cut-outs of Barbie.
At 3 p.m., the ballet performance started. The wide-eyed girls watched in awe, as the dancing ballerinas twirled and pirouetted onstage. The 45-minute show featured notable pieces and routines from popular shows such as Giselle and Swan Lake. The launch of the Barbie in the Pink Shoes collection followed, featuring the characters in the movie.
LIVING THE DREAM
For Jane Yao, vice president of Richprime Global Inc., the event was more than a simple weekend activity to entertain kids. To her, it was a chance for young girls, and even for the grown-ups, to experience the Barbie dream.
"I grew up personally with Barbie and I think that I am very privileged that I am able to share the Barbie dream with all the little girls here," Yao says. "Every girl dreams to be a world-famous ballerina, a world-class fashion designer or even a business tycoon and that is what Barbie is all about − living the dream. I hope this event will serve as a special inspiration, not only for the little girls, but for each one of us to live that dream and to believe that everything is possible if we follow our heart," she says.