In spite of a huge amount of criticism, Girl Scouts of the USA and Mattel have confirmed that their upcoming collaboration, Girl Scout Barbie, is going ahead; indeed, the doll will be launching this week. Naturally, a lot of people are angry about it. Really, really angry. And I can't say I blame them. Girl Scouts announced its Mattel collaboration last summer — and as you might expect, the backlash was quick and fierce. Some objected to the presentation of Barbie’s impossible proportions and beauty standards in a toy intended to be a role model; others have called it “product placement at its worst,” noting that the very existence of the doll turns actual Girl Scouts into “walking advertisements” for it. In spite of the objections, though, Mattel and Girl Scouts of the USA have moved forward on the project; a tie-in website and an online activity book have already gone live, with the doll itself hitting shelves this week.
And you know what? I side with the naysayers on this one. If Girl Scouts of the USA wanted to do a toy collab that badly, I can think of whole bunch of products and companies with significantly less problematic baggage and philosophies that would have served them better. Sure, they may not all be the toy industry juggernaut that Barbie is — but if you’re aiming to make a point, isn’t a smaller company with ideals more in line with the message you want to send a stronger choice?
Check ‘em out — and let us know if you have any to add on Facebook or Twitter.
1. Girl Scout Lammily
I will take Lammily, the realistically
proportioned, “average Barbie,” over regular Barbie any day. If the goal is to give
kids an older role model to emulate, Lammily provides exactly what we need.
2. Lego Girl Scout Minifig Set
Just to be clear, I’m not talking
about that stupid Lego Friends line; I mean something more akin to the Lego
Research Institute set we heard about a few months ago. Scouting isn’t just
about posing in uncomfortable positions while wearing a cute uniform (which,
let’s face it, is just about all the Girl Scout Barbie is going to be capable
of); it’s about so much more than that. It’s about exploring, learning, building
skills, helping others, and all sort of other awesome things. How cool would
Lego sets themed according to, say, what a Girl Scout Minifig would need to do in order
to earn different merit badges be?
3. Girl Scout GoldieBlox
Speaking of exploring and learning,
GoldieBlox and Girl Scouts seem like they should go together like PB and J. What
better way to earn a Skill Building Award than by introducing young scouts to engineering?
4. American Girl, Girl Scout Edition
The American Girl franchise may
have strayed a little bit from its roots — a shift which notably happened when
the company was bought by Mattel, which also owns Barbie, in 1998. Even so, if the
Girl Scout collab had to be done with Mattel, doesn’t American Girl seem like a
better fit? The dolls are proportioned like kids, not sexy, sultry adults, and
the positive message behind them is generally a lot clearer. There actually was
a doll-sized Girl Scout uniform available for purchase in 1996; it was retired
in 1999, but I can’t help but think now would have been a good time for a
5. Miss Possible, Juliette Gordon Low Edition
We just heard about Miss
Possible dolls a few days ago, but we’re already totally in love with the idea.
Girl Scouts of the USA founder Juliette Gordon Low may not have been a chemist,
aviator, or programmer, but she was a
trailblazer — and a perfect candidate for a line of dolls geared towards
honoring amazing leaders and daring rule breakers. As a bonus, a Girl Scout collab would probably help get this fledgling company off the ground. It's a win-win situation.