It’s that time of year again! National Hispanic Heritage Month! September 15th through October 15th is a time to celebrate all of our Hispanic heroes! So, for the next few weeks we’ll talk about some of the amazing Hispanic historical figures and great things to happen in Hispanic communities.
1968 began the observation of Hispanic Heritage Week when Lyndon B. Johnson was president of the USA and Ronald Reagan expanded the week into an entire month in 1988. Unlike Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month begins in the middle of a month and lasts for 30 days (as opposed to one calendar month). September 15th marks the anniversary of the independence of many Latin American countries while the independence days of Mexico (Sept 16) and Chile (Sept 18) are celebrated just after. Interestingly, Columbus day (Día de la Raza) calls on Oct 12, just before the end of this celebrated month.
On Hispanic Heritage Month’s .gov website, you can find information about art, history, culture, and more about Hispanic history.
To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, Mattel has released a Mariachi Barbie, to make amends for the mildly racist “Mexico” Barbie which angered Latinos at the release of the Dolls of the World Barbie collection. This time, Mattel embraced the rich culture of the Mariachi and in this article they discuss why Mariachi should be respected as artists.
Despite the fact that any Barbie doll placed in the hands of a little girl (regardless of race) will eventually end up wearing random clothes, the clothing on this Mariachi Barbie is fairly accurate and respectful to the culture. Most Hispanic little girls probably can’t sing along with Mariachi music and they’d rather listen to today’s top Pop hits, this doll is still a step in the right direction, it may encourage girls to ask questions about their heritage and ask to know more about what a Mariachi actually is, maybe they’ll even discover Trio Ella or Mariachi Divas (all-female mariachi groups).
As ridiculed and looked down upon as the Hispanic culture can be in the USA (immigration laws, stereotypes of work ethic, assumed intelligence, etc), there is still hope. Be proud if you’re a Latina/Latino/Hispanic person! Embrace what Mattel has done and tell your little girls they don’t have to be blonde, busty, and vapid. Barbie does evoke a sense of shallowness, but she’s also a symbol that girls can do anything boys can do (but apparently do it in pink). Mattel’s Mariachi Barbie isn’t a pinkified version of the real thing, it is a fairly accurate depiction of a great artist in their traditional garb. There have been Mexico dolls in the past, but this is the first one depicting a specific element of the culture.Let’s hope this is the first step towards greater things and more respect for our Hispanic communities!