I meant to write, but was helpless against the relentless demands of real life. Trending today on facebook is the news that Mattel has decided to change Barbie. This is Mattel finally responding to little girls across America abandoning Barbies and taking up the pink Legos. Legos are awesome- kids love them, and their parents love them even more. My daughter gets lost in her Duplos and for that time, there is no general mayhem accompanying her. We love her Legos slightly more than she does.
So, anyways, it seems Barbie was rapidly losing marketshare not to a rival toy company, but something entirely different, a new way of looking at the world. Day before yesterday, for instance, I watched two little girls play at princesses. It involved welcoming foreign dignitaries -me- (that too with a bow and not a curtsy) and then their castle caught fire and they heroically put out the fire and saved themselves from ruin. It was evidently very exciting, and their was no tiara, no dresses and no princes involved. Can you imagine Barbie putting out fires? She will not be able to run on her ridiculous legs. But look at Anna and Elsa in Lego’s Arendelle castle. They look competent and capable, and the dresses are super cute.
How could Barbie compete once parents and their daughters both abandoned traditional roles of women and migrated to modernity. Upper-middle class India, the one I live in now, mirrors America, and the same holds true for them. The people rich enough to buy expensive toys are increasingly- from the evidence of Mattel and Lego- abandoning dolls and the world they represented.
Yes, in India we also have films like Mastizaade. (no link, you honestly do not want to know about this movie.) We in India are changing faster, but the change is not yet visible because this is too big a country, and the average is hiding all the interesting action in the fat tails. I think we will have to wait forever for the average to reflect any social change in India. And movies pandering to the lowest common denominator will never know anything.