Support for LAist comes from
We Explain L.A.
Stay Connected

Share This

This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.

This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.

Arts and Entertainment

Mom Demands More Diversity In All-White Barbie Party Supplies

Stories like these are only possible with your help!
You have the power to keep local news strong for the coming months. Your financial support today keeps our reporters ready to meet the needs of our city. Thank you for investing in your community.

Karen Greene Braithwaite's daughter Georgia wanted to have a Barbie-themed party for her fifth birthday. But when the Harlem mother went shopping to buy Barbie plates, Barbie cups and Barbie invitations, she was disappointed to find out that all the Barbies on the supplies were white, blonde-haired and blue-eyed.

Braithwaite wrote, "Even though it seems like a small thing, featuring the white Barbie so prominently on the banners, cups, napkins, plates, party favors, and invitations, while relegating the 'ethnic' Barbies to near-invisible cameos sends a clear--and troubling--message to young girls."

Braithwaite found that other mothers were also troubled—and one mother managed to create her own DIY black Barbie labels so that her daughter could have a Barbie-themed party. So Braithwaite started a petition demanding that the El Segundo-based Mattel include Barbies of other ethnicities on its party supplies. So far over 5,200 people have signed the petition.

She writes, "Mattel already offers a wide selection of dolls of different races and ethnicities--which simply begs the question: Why not give young girls of color the option of seeing and celebrating that same diversity when it comes to celebrating themselves?"

Support for LAist comes from

A Mattel spokesman told the Daily Breeze that the company was considering Braithwaite's petition and had "reached out" to talk to her. The company said, "We work closely with various partners to develop and distribute Barbie-themed products, such as party supplies, and we will be sharing this valuable feedback with them to start conversations and evaluate the business. We listen carefully to our consumers and take all feedback seriously."

Recently, Barbie came out with a bald Barbie for children who have cancer or alopecia.

Here's the video Braithwaite, her children and others created:

Barbie Goes Bald for Children With Cancer