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Día de los Muertos en México (izq) y Barbie latina lanzada por Mattel en 2015. Photo: Getty Images. 
Day of the Dead in Mexico (left) and Latina Barbie launched by Mattel in 2015 Photo: Getty Images.

A Barbie Catrina to celebrate the Mexican Día de Muertos

With colorful dresses and amazing makeup, collectors already have a place for Barbie Catrina on their altars.

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The Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations are coming up, the time of year when Mexicans honor their dead with altars, parades, visits to cemeteries, and many other festivities.

Mattel, as usual, was not going to miss the celebration.

The company has just launched a new Barbie Catrina that is much more festive and colorful than the first one last year, who was dressed in rigorously black.

On this occasion, Mexican-American designer Javier Meabe wanted to reflect the joy and deep-rooted traditions of the country with a brunette Catrina wearing a colorful dress in shades of pink, with lace, pearls, and embroidered flowers, as well as a crown made up of skeleton hands. 

"As a Mexican-American designer, it was important for me to use my creative voice to design a doll that celebrates the bright colors and vivid textures of my culture, as well as the traditions I grew up with that are represented and celebrated in Barbie," Meaba said in a statement from Mattel. 

While the company emphasized the commitment with which Barbie was born, to "inspire girls to be who they want to be" and that "this year commemorates the lives of many women who have left their mark over time."

An inclusive doll

Even if you only represent women with tiny waists, long legs, and big breasts, there is no point in lying. 

Since Mattel began its journey, Barbie has adapted to the social and cultural changes of her time to be as diverse as possible. 

Her predecessor, Bild Lilli, emerged as a "blonde bombshell." When Ruth Handler discovered Bild on a trip to Switzerland in 1956, she was sure that it would be a real coup to create a "liberated" doll that would dress fashionably and make her life so she could inspire girls to take on other social roles. 

In the 1960s, Barbie met Ken, and they moved into a house. These were years of transformation after she spent a decade playing the sober and "perfect" Grace Kelly, and the first African-American Barbie dolls also appeared (although with the same features as the Caucasian). 

Towards the end of the era, controversy broke out with a ridiculous weight loss advice book attached as a Barbie accessory, and even a scale. 

Then came Malibu Barbie. She became an American icon, painted by Warhol himself, and who took a much more active and conscious role in society, including dolls in wheelchairs, breaking her eternal romance with Ken, or tattooing her entire body.

Today, anyone can find in the stores Asian, mixed-race, African-American, Native American Barbies that represent the great racial and cultural plurality in which we live, but also the great diversity of gender.

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