Once upon a time, a 30-year-old singer wore a very, very low-cut dress to a fancy event. That singer was Jennifer Lopez, that dress was the now infamous green Versace gown, and that fancy event was the 2000 Grammy Awards. The look didn’t become one of the most iconic in the past 100 years because it was a pretty dress; it attained that status because of its wearer* and the way it draped on her remarkable curves. Unfortunately, Mattel does not think much of J. Lo’s trademark figure. As a matter of fact, they left it out entirely.
The Jennifer Lopez Barbie doll was supposedly created in Lopez’s image, and upon first glance, this would appear to be true. That is, if your first glance was sans contact lenses and after rubbing petroleum jelly into your eyes. In all seriousness, the doll barely resembles Jennifer Lopez — a sad thing considering she has been a role model, particularly young Latina girls, for decades. (I, for one, thought she was the most amazing person ever after seeing her portray Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in Selena. In addition to her talent, part of why J. Lo was an awesome person to see in music videos, films and concerts was the fact that she was a Puerto Rican woman with a body type so different than most of what we grew up seeing on TV. It therefore sucks that Mattel felt Lopez’s body wasn’t adequate for doll standards so they (literally) molded her into somebody else.
While Mattel claims in their press release that this special-edition doll was “sculpted in her likeness,” I’m not so sure I see that. It’s hard to tell in the press photo above, but Lopez’s body looks super different than how they depicted it. Check out the outfits these product pictures’ looks were modeled after:
I am very curious to know what J. Lo herself thinks about the doll. Perhaps she doesn’t care either way (this picture of her looking mildly bored would support that), but maybe she does care. Maybe this bugs her just as much as it bugs me, and if so, would Mattel ever change the doll? (Answer: Doubtful, but one can only hope they would at least try a little harder next time.)
On a more positive note, it is always good to see more dolls of varying ethnicities, so I’m truly stoked on Mattel doing that. The more diversified their company’s stock is, the more relevant they’ll be to the hands of kids everywhere.
*Seriously: Geri Halliwell (AKA Ginger Spice, AKA my favorite Spice Girl) wore the dress a month before J. Lo, but next-to-nobody remembers that.