All hail Barbie Stalker Girl!
'It's moviemaking from a Barbie doll's point of view - literally!'
I am the father of four daughters, aged 23-10, and have learnt a thing or two over the years about Barbie dolls. The most salient thing is the "generational split" within my family - the two older girls owned Barbies and played with Barbies - the two younger junked the hand-me downs and never played with dolls. Of any kind. Ever.
Barbies? Meh! For them, it is about cameras and camcorders - pop music and phones and laptops and social networking. Attitudes like this are a headache for Mattel, Barbie's owner. Not so very long ago, they had a reliable demographic of girls who bought Barbies, lots of them, and accessories, lots of them until they were nine or 10. These girls don't play with dolls anymore.
So what to do? A ha! Let's stuff a camera in the body of a Barbie and see if we can latch onto what today's pre-teens are really interested in. How much should we charge?
I'm a Barbie Girl, where's my Barbie World?
£59.99 - no, £44.99, that sounds about right. The camera can capture 30 minutes of video which you can see on an LCD on Barbie's back. You can transfer the footage to a PC or a Mac. Here's some of the spec for Barbie Video Girl , lifted from Argos, the UK retailer:
- Doll is not just a doll, she's a video camera, too.
- A real video camera inside Barbie features a camera lens hidden in her necklace and a video screen on her back that allows girls to record and view movies instantly.
- It's moviemaking from a Barbie doll's point of view - literally!
- For ages 6 years and over.
This is genius. Our main concern would be that any child young enough to actually want to play with a Barbie - maxing out at five years-old these days, would break the camera pretty damn quick. And who these days would pay £44.99 for a novelty camera case, when you can give your kid an old digital camera to play with?
Others are concerned the psychological and privacy implications of Barbie Video Girl. The Sydney Morning Herald has assembled a bunch of critics, including a clinical psychologist called Sally-Anne McCormack, who calls on parents to boycott the product: "Essentially, it's a hidden camera. Children don't look at video clips the way that adults do and there might be inappropriate shots that they upload onto YouTube."
Bad Barbie! Naughty Barbie!
Children are playing with cameras today and are uploading them and manipulating pictures on Picnik and editing videos on their PCs and Macs. Barbie is irrelevant to this. In fact, Barbie is irrelevant full stop.
Even Computer Engineer Barbie, alas.