Who cares what Entrepreneur Barbie is wearing?

Image via: money.cnn.com

Apparently A LOT of women.  Seriously, we’ve seen chatter in our networking groups, abound on Facebook and even in CNNMoney.  The most ironic part of the CNNMoney article is perhaps the commentary about everything Sheryl Sandberg has done to break down stereotypes about women and then shows her in a suit (Ack! Entrepreneurs simply can’t wear suits!  Insert sarcasm here.) right next to Barbie in the evil pink dress.

Women are starting new businesses in record numbers.  Female entrepreneurs are proud of their hard work and amazing successes.  The media – both niche and mainstream – is taking notice.  It seems every day there’s a new research study or article gone viral that showcases our progress and impact.  We know the numbers of woman-owned businesses eclipsing $1M in revenues are sadly only a fraction of those owned by men. So we band together in networking, mastermind and business support groups to continue to break barriers and achieve new heights.

But wear the wrong clothes and you’ll feel the wrath.  This is where this woman business owner gets lost.  Women and men alike are dressing down in the workplace, but still dressing up for important meetings and pitches.  Our attire ranges from a trendy Diane von Furstenberg dress to the most comfortable (yet transparent) Lululemon yoga pants on the market and everything in between.  We wear heels and hard hats, diamonds and denim.  There’s no one doll that could possibly represent the amazing breadth of attire (and more importantly, industries and talents) of all women entrepreneurs.  Yet Mattel is getting slammed by women business owners across the country for missing the mark.

Again, ladies, I’m confused.  Love her or hate her, Barbie is an icon in our society.  Yes, her waist is too small and her body completely out of proportion to that of any real woman.  More than once Barbie was an astronaut in a spacesuit completely ill-suited for a moon walk and sported perfectly coiffed hair completely impossible to maintain when  working on the farm as she was intended to portray in the John Deere edition.  And now she’s an entrepreneur.

Mattel is putting the full weight of its PR team behind Entrepreneur Barbie‘s launch.  It needs to.  Sales of Barbie in general are down.  There are arguments that Entrepreneur Barbie is just a PR move by a large company with lousy sales jumping on a trendy bandwagon.  And many will argue that Entrepreneur Barbie’s attire does nothing more than continue to set unrealistic expectations for young girls.  Truth?  Perhaps.  I’m not one to say.  I’m not a psychologist.  I’m an entrepreneur and a mom of boys.  But, I’ll tip my woman-owned business owner hat to Mattel for shining a spotlight on the opportunities that entrepreneurship affords to women.  I’ll happily give a shoutout to a large brand with significant influence that reminds the world that women are making a difference in business, building our economy and paving new paths for themselves.

Time for me to go buy a pink dress.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. I agree. I have loved Mattel’s #unapologetic marketing campaign for Barbie. Women come in all shapes and sizes; all career interests and all types of apparel. I think Barbie has done a darned good job of trying to represent many different types of women.

    Here’s my view: http://ambitwomen.com/unapologetic-barbie/

  2. Amen! LOVE this line from your post: “A bold, brave, beautiful doll whose helped millions of little girls, and the women they grow into, first pretend, then BE bold, brave and beautiful in our choices too.”