Mattel slammed for cultural appropriation after releasing Day of the Dead Barbie

Day of the Dead barbie
The Day of the Dead barbie has drawn heat online. Photo credit: Mattel.

Barbie creator Mattel has come under fire for its latest addition to the range - a Day of the Dead Barbie.

Released internationally on Friday in celebration of Mexican holiday Día de Muertos, the doll has been designed with signature "sugar skull" face paint, a decorative headdress and a traditional, black, floral, Mexican dress.

The costume has come synonymous with the holiday, in which Mexican people honour the lives of loved ones who have passed away.

Howeeer, the release from the toy manufacturer has received a negative reaction online, with many calling Mattel out for "cultural appropriation". 

Mattel slammed for cultural appropriation after releasing Day of the Dead Barbie
Photo credit: Mattel.

"Is this a bad joke or what? #Mattel toy company plans to release and promotion of a Day of the Dead Barbie... Día de los Muertos is one of our most sacred traditions in Mexico dating back to prehispanic days. STOP PRODUCTION! [sic]" one person tweeted.

"Cultural Appropriation Barbie is coming out soon," another added.

"Don't worry! No proceeds will go to indigenous people that sell this kind of thing much cheaper. For only $75 you can help a multi-million dollar corporation get richer!"

Others praised the move. 

"I think it's a wonderful tool for bringing our culture into our children's everyday lives," wrote one person

"[Mattel] makes dolls to represent ALL cultures so that every little girl can feel like her heritage is represented. They're paying homage to the traditions of Dia de los Muertos," pointed out another.

According to the Independent, Mexican-American doll designer Javier Meabe says the decision was made with nothing but "love and respect". 

"I know how important this tradition is and the responsibility it implies to represent this culture.

"I just hope that people know how much love we put into this doll and how much respect we have for the Day of the Dead," he added.

Mattel says the Barbie is available to purchase for US$75 (NZ$117) in US department stores Target and Walmart, and on