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The Mattel Barbie Doll Essay

1624 words - 6 pages

Behind the magic of Barbie’s creation.

The holiday season is fast approaching and the list for children to buy for is long.

Strolling down the Toys ‘R Us toy aisle, I find it hard to miss

what is in every typical North American toy store: Mattel’s Barbie dolls. A plastic doll

with clothes; it appears simple enough but not quite. From its conception in California,

to it being manufactured in China, to it being shipped to the local Toys ‘R Us store in

Vancouver, the Barbie doll sitting on a toy store shelve has undergone numerous social

and geographical processes involved in its production before it will reach into the hands

of my excited nine year old cousin on Christmas morning. With over one hundred and

fifty new models of Barbie dolls released onto the global market per year (Enriquez), the

web of relations among factories, shipping companies, toy distributors, Mattel offices and

etc. for the production and consumption of Barbie dolls are numerous. To date, over half

a billion Barbie’s have been sold in more than one hundred and forty countries. Each

week, Mattel sells over 1.5 million dolls; two dolls per second are sold (Toys and Games:

Barbie Dolls). The sheer number of Barbie dolls sold is an indication of the on-going ties

and involvement between Mattel’s Head Office management, the factories and its

workers hired to produce the Barbie dolls, the retail distributors, the consumers, and

everybody else in between the Commodity chain of Barbie’s creation to its consumption.

The first step in the commodity chain of Barbie is simply the conception of the

doll itself and the creation of what it will look like. The production of Barbie begins in

the commodity management center of Mattel's El Segundo, California headquarters (The

Creation of Barbie). This is where Mattel's material and economic experts decide where

and who they should look to to provide the plastic, fabric, and other Barbie parts for the

creation of its doll (The Creation of Barbie). All of the important decisions of production,

labour, and retailing are made in El Segundo as this is where Mattel’s headquarters and

corporate management team is located.

The next step is then assembling the different materials needed for the
manufacturing of Barbie. According to the Lewis and Clark College website, machinery
and tools used to make Barbie, including the plastic injection mold machines, comes
from Japan, Europe and the United States (The Creation of Barbie). The molds, the most
expensive item in the doll making, come from the United States, Japan or Hong Kong
(The Creation of Barbie). As well as molds, the cardboard packaging and paint pigments
for the dolls also originate from the United States (The Creation of Barbie). Other
materials needed still come from various geographical sources. For example, oil from
Saudi Arabia is shipped to Taiwan, where it is...

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