Say what you will about The Hunger Games, its obsessed fans, and its possible rip-off of decade-old Japanese cinema. As female lead characters go, Katniss Everdeen is a pretty decent role model.
So naturally, Mattel needed to cash in.
Entertainment Weekly has the first images of the Katniss Barbie set to hit stores in August (kinda late to the trend there, guys). And yeah, it's pretty much what you'd expect: all the outer trappings of the film, thinly disguising the prissy, unattainable form of the doll beneath.
To the credit of the designers, the doll wears pretty much the exact
same thing Jennifer Lawrence wears in the movie: baggy pants and a baggy
jacket with mockingjay pin, a side braid, and decidedly un-girly boots.
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But it's still, well, a Barbie. Let's set aside the ridiculous, body image-destroying proportions of the dolls themselves, for a moment. Toys these days do some pretty awesome things, at least compared to the stuff I had as a kid in the '80s. (Sweet Christ, but I am old.) But outside of its appearance, Katniss Barbie doesn't relate to its character at all. In the books and film, she does a ton of running, and fighting, and gets covered in dirt and grime. The doll comes with a bow and arrows, Katniss' weapon of choice. But how are you gonna shoot those things with stiff Barbie arms? Why couldn't kids instead play with Hunger Games action figures that perform their own stunts? Kids' imaginations are limitless, yes, but couldn't we have helped them out even a little?
The more obvious complaint is that Mattel essentially re-shaped Katniss, a decidedly anti-feminine, uncharismatic, blunt tomboy character, into the cheery, perky-boobed Barbie template. It's extra irksome because the Katniss of the books is so opposed to weakness and vanity and so many of the other things Barbie traditionally signifies.
I, for one, blame the Capitol.