Except, this time, not. They're busy moving Government Documents to the fifth floor, which means eliminating half the non-fiction section, which really makes me wonder where the books are going. Anyway, Elena Rodriguez (a.k.a. Teresa) took Hayden on this disappointing trip to get her out of the house while Meygan and Sophie redid the bathroom, and all they came home with was a book.
|The one to the left is "Indian," to the right, mestiza.|
My real interest, though, is in popular dolls -- the Barbie equivalents. Let's go find some.
"Mexican fashion dolls" got me to the Mexican Fashion Dolls!!!! Flickr group, where the photos look very Barbie-like until one suddenly comes upon Valerie. Valerie was a 1970s friend of Barbie made only in Mexico by the local licensee, Cipsa. With her high arched brows and skunk-striped hair, Valerie is unbelievably fabulous and straight out of a telenovela. She goes for big bucks on eBay, and I find her more compelling than any of the early vintage Barbies. If anybody wants to bring her back in an articulated version, I'm there.
The same group led me to the 2010 exhibition on Mexican Barbies and their clones at MUJAM (museum of vintage toys). It seems the reason that Cipsa relied so heavily on the Steffi mold was that competitor Lili Ledy's Barbara Parlante used the Barbie face of the time. Lily Ledy also had the license for Tressy dolls and added Tressy's hot boyfriend Ricardo.
A few other Mexican fashion doll photos before moving on to other countries:
- Barbie clone in Chiapas traditional dress
- A bevy of Barbara Parlantes
- First in a series of Monster High My Scene clones made in Mexico
After this wealth of eye candy, I had to try some other countries. . . say. . . Venezuela! It's the Miss Barbie Venezuela pageant, apparently the ultimate aspiration of Barbie Basics.
Argentina is where the first giant Barbie store was launched.
Let's go look at Falabella, the big Chilean department store! Their doll selection is mostly familiar American brands, except for Violetta, who's apparently from the Disneylatino equivalent of Hannah Montana. Violetta looks rather like a Sparkle Girl.
Latin America is apparently wall-to-wall platinum-blond Barbies. I checked a couple other stores, including Curacao, which specifically aims itself at the working-class Latino market in Arizona and southern California (hint: mostly dark-skinned), and it's all Barbie. Even today's assimilated Teresa, who's no darker than Summer's tennis tan, is absent.
|Elena/Teresa tries to be a good sport about comparing skin tone with an Experimental Subject.|
After confirming that I wasn't hallucinating that Teresa in the 1990s looked like the women I see around Phoenix, I had to go stare at vintage Valeries for a while to regain my composure.
|I'm not sure if I like the purplish landscape or the Phoenix better.|
Hayden and Elena ponder art from the library's regional collection. I love handouts like these as a source of free, authentic dollhouse art. As it happens, none of these pieces turn out to reflect anything really Hispanic except maybe from the romanticized view of American settlers, but the colors are pretty.