A Barbie doll "Death Day" version is displayed during the presentation in Mexico City.
Barbie has been many things -- from a bathing beauty to an astronaut to even president. Now, she is donning skeleton face paint and a crown of marigolds to honour Mexican culture, but some are crying foul.
Mattel has unveiled a new version of the iconic doll that is inspired by Mexico's traditional Day of the Dead celebration.
Diego Rivera also immortalized the character in a mural completed in 1947.
The Day of the Dead festival, celebrated in Mexico on November 1-2, is believed to be when the gateway separating the living and the deceased opens, allowing people to pay their respects to those who have passed.
"That the tradition is recognized with this doll, the best known in the world, is something that makes me proud," Mexican toy collector Jaqueline Vidal told AFP in Mexico City, where the collectible doll was officially unveiled on Thursday.
The doll has nevertheless aroused controversy by some who consider it "cultural appropriation" -- using a time-honoured tradition to make money.
"The design of this Barbie has no elements identical to indigenous clothing," said Octavio Murillo, director of cultural heritage at the National Institute of Indigenous Peoples (INPI).
"More than plagiarism against indigenous people, it would be plagiarism against those who hold the rights of Guadalupe Posada and Diego Rivera," Murillo added.
More than one billion Barbies have been sold globally since the American brand's launch 60 years ago.
A disconsolate mother dressed in white wanders through Mexico City's floating gardens looking for her children killed by the coronavirus, in a pandemic-era adaptation of a legend rooted in Aztec mythology.
She's been a princess, a president, a Marine Corps sergeant, an astronaut and a Star Wars stormtrooper. In Mexico for the Day of the Dead festival, Barbie is even a skeleton.
The women of the indigenous community in the east of Mexico said how they felt cheated of their traditional motifs where "each element has a personal, family or community meaning."
Local reports said even Shahraban K’s parents were fooled and identified the body as hers before an autopsy a day later threw the assumption into doubt.
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