EW has confirmed that Mattel will manufacture and release a collectible doll inspired by Katniss Everdeen, the lead character from The Hunger Games.
The doll is being “created specifically for the adult collector,” says a rep for Mattel, who explains that the Katniss-inspired Barbie will be available later this year through BarbieCollector.com and other retail outlets. Currently, no images of the doll are available. (Here’s an example of Barbie Collector’s Twilight Bella doll, though.)
Although Mattel’s move isn’t the first example of the gigantic merchandising effort surrounding The Hunger Games (check out a gallery of Hunger Games-inspired memorabilia), it’s likely to draw both cheers and jeers.
On the one hand, those who feel that Barbie promotes female stereotypes — superficial beauty, flowy hair, and pink dresses rather than intelligence and individuality — may commend Mattel’s decision to base a doll on Katniss, who’s known for being an independent survivor.
But fans of The Hunger Games may feel that Katniss’ commodification by Mattel abandons the anti-corporate sentiments the character possesses in Suzanne Collins’ novels. For many, Barbie dolls represent the pinnacle of female objectification – impossibly proportioned and vapid – and they likely don’t want to see their beloved Katniss reduced to that level.
Still, let’s not forget about Barbie fans. Consumers who value Barbie’s traditionally wholesome image may wince at the idea of a doll based upon a revolutionary young girl who kills other teenagers in order to survive. Though the doll is geared toward adults, the Barbie brand is synonymous with children, and parents might be unsettled by the implications.
Where do you stand? Is the Katniss connection good for Barbie? Is the Barbie connection good for Katniss?