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Barbie sometimes gets a bad rap, but a new collaboration between Mattel’s most famous toy and the unlikely collaborator NASA might place the leggy blonde doll in a new light. On Monday, Mattel released a brand new version of the doll called “Mars Explorer Barbie.” The Barbie was released on to shelves earlier this week to coincide with the 1-year anniversary of NASA’s Curiosity Rover landing on Mars.
The new Barbie even has her own spacesuit, helmet, and stylish air tank. In fact, details of the doll are all pink, including her shiny chrome belt and shoulder pads and a rocking pair of space boots. Her costume is fabulous, but her accessories might be even cooler, including the aforementioned air tank and a six-wheeled Mars Science Laboratory.
The news came the same day that NASA announced its agency has begun prepping for the latest mission to Mars. This newest exploration won’t be launched from the Kennedy Space Center until November, but according to press release, this week scientists began detailed testing on the craft, which will be sent into the upper atmosphere on Mars in order to obtain detailed information about how the planet’s climate has changed over the years. Sure, we may not be at the point where we are able to send humans to the Red Planet, but the new Barbie still details a hopeful dream. Besides, imagination in toys is extremely important.
Barbie may not often change sizes, but she does switch careers quite frequently, opting to do a variety of jobs from teaching to traveling into space. Her latest themed release is part of a line of “I Can Be”—themed dolls, with Space also reporting the news that the “Mars Explorer Barbie” is Mattel’s 2013 Career of the Year doll. I thought it might be difficult to beat last year’s “I Can Be President” doll, but a space suit is far more incredible than a three-piece suit, even if Hilary Clinton might tactfully disagree.
There’s a frequent argument for more gender-neutral toys, and I’m all for kids of all genders playing with whatever dolls, games, action figures, accessories, art supplies, and books they can get their hands on. Regardless, I also appreciate Mattel’s effort to make a statement with the “Mars Explorer Barbie,” telling girls they can be smart, kick-ass, and even head into space while still maintaining a love for fashion. Feminism and femininity are not always mutually exclusive, and this doll is a great example of that.