Mattel has had its share of "regrettable" moments in doll history. By "regrettable," I mean moments when the toy buying and critiquing market responds with anger or outrage. The bottom line is selling product so that the company continues. So few companies actively seek to alienate their clients. Here are some examples we can look at:
Ken - absent penis which lack provides constant negative commentary.
"Colored" Francie - OMG! Barbie has COLORED relatives!
Growing Up Skipper - budding breasts are EVIL!
Kissing Barbie - we won't investigate what she is selling, tsk.
Earring Magic Ken - lavender vest + earrings on a male doll - not for my kids!
"Oreo" Barbie - Oreo is not JUST a cookie, Tom.
Pregnant Midge - nobody's fooled by that silver ring on her left hand, get out the stones! Add pregnant married women to the EVIL list.
BUT I have to give Mattel a hand for an act of quiet significance. Back in 1973, somebody actually paid attention to details. Somebody looked at the Mattel doll line and then looked at the world. So when the Malibu Sun Set dolls were created with suntan (light brown) complexions, Christie also got a darker complexion. Oh. Pause to allow the significance of this event to penetrate. Someone at Mattel recognized that brown Christie could become a darker shade of brown after spending a lot of time in the sun. See the original Christie and the first Malibu Christie here:
Christie: Shades of Black
Is that paying attention? Thanks mysterious somebody or some bodies at Mattel for taking the time to get that detail right and to see that Christie dolls went out suntanned, as did Barbie, Ken, Skipper, and Francie. I don't know if anyone else noticed that "getting it right" moment so if they didn't, then 36 years later, I write, THANKS!