At 54, the bloom is off the iconic Barbie

Cristiana and Jessica Martins have a teacher Barbie doll, a doctor Barbie, a Barbie dentist, and a hairstylist Barbie – 45 in all.

Ensconced in the doll aisle of a Wal-Mart in western Toronto on Wednesday with their mother, the two girls are on the hunt. But there is bad news for the 54-year-old Barbie, the flagship brand of Mattel Inc.: Cristiana and Jessica – and many more girls like them – are not shopping for a Barbie any more.

Cristiana, 10, and Jessica, 7, are now pining for the American Girl doll, fast gaining ground on the venerable Barbie. (It’s only available for online purchase in this country.)

Their mother, Cristina Martins, says that kind of toy is better suited to her daughters. “Less hourglass, less makeup, the hair’s more realistic, someone they can relate to more,” she says.

Cristiana chimes in: “Real girls!”

Decades after feminists first called for her tiny, perfect head, Barbie’s plastic appeal is melting away.

Sales of the iconic doll dropped in 2012 and continued to decline so far this year, according to Mattel, the latest move being a sharp 12-per-cent dip in the past three months.

Read the whole story in The Globe and Mail.


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