Why Not a Katniss Barbie?

 

“It’s hard to imagine little kids reenacting the bloody combat of the Hunger Games in Barbie’s Malibu dream house.”  – Crushable

The Hunger Games is the biggest trend in books right now, at Books & Co and seemingly all over the world (Kim G’s wonderful review gets loads of hits from places as far flung as Singapore and Hungary everyday) and there have been stories about Hunger Games themed weddings (three bridesmaids enter…) and the branded merchandise ranges from Peeta pillowcases to “bird bud” Mockingjay themed earphones.  Putting aside how much Katniss herself would hate all of the hoopla and themed bedspreads – there are light bulbs, knee socks and replica bows so why not a Barbie?

I take exception to Crushable’s claim that “it’s hard to imagine little kids reenacting the bloody combat of the Hunger Games in Barbie’s Malibu dream house.” As a woman who had her Barbies do all kinds of things they weren’t designed for, usually in a fluffy, peach cocktail dress, I can easily imagine little kids using their Katniss Barbies to kick some action figure ass.  Sure there are little girls – and little boys – who only use their Barbies in the way they were originally intended – as fashion dolls you dress up, whose hair you brush and then you’re done – but there are far, far more kids who’s Barbies are both the heroes and the villains in their own private wars.  There is nothing better watching a 6 year old use her Barbie to save another Barbie dangling over a pool of sharks.

Anyone thinking that just because Barbie is pretty she can’t, or won’t, be used in bloody combat to the death has never watched kids play together.  And to suggest that the best Katniss Barbie is a “Girl on Fire Dress” Barbie is false.  The young girls and boys who love Katniss love her for her strength and resourcefulness and they’re going to want her with a bow in clothes she can fight in.  Suggesting that just because she’s Barbie brand, kids aren’t going to want Katniss to be Katniss is simply false.  Kids’ imaginations are always going to be larger than adult expectations.

So, why not a Katniss Barbie?  Why does that seem ludicrous? If pretty girls’ can’t be tough then Katniss wouldn’t exist.  The reasons people love Katniss are many and varied, but for the most part, they love her because she is a rounded, complex character and to suggest that a Katniss Barbie is any crazier than the rest of the Hunger Games merchandise is false.  And even without a Katniss Barbie, kids are going to be having their dolls fight to the death. So, bring on Katniss Barbie.  I think she’d look really good swinging down from the dream house to help Skipper save Midge from ninjas.

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