With the midterm elections occurring Nov. 6, there is much talk about women being the driving force this voting season. There are always fervent whispers and breathy editorials about just who comprises the next big electorate wave. For November 2018, the finger-pointing or thumbs-up (depending upon how you view it) is at women. Women are the new, powerful movement, and that got me to thinking about Barbie, her various incarnations as both a peace seeker and a physical powerhouse. Plus, Mattel recently unveiled her as a Made to Move doll. That lineup of Barbie options is fabulous, kinetic, and completely awe-inspiring. Mattel dolls are now, literally, movers and shakers.
It might have been Toy Fair 2016 that I saw the first versions of the Made to Move Barbies. Since 2016, these dolls have truly come into their own. The selling point of the MtM Barbies is that they are highly flexible and posable. Each one has nearly two dozen points of articulation. They have 22 joints in their necks, upper arms, wrists, elbows, hips, torso, upper legs, knees, and ankles. Having so many ways to be positioned, the Made to Move Barbie dolls are the go-to body type for athletic portrait dolls and active women-on-the-go characters as well.
Superstar gymnast Laurie Hernandez, who won America’s heart during the 2016 summer Olympics, has been realistically sculpted with the Made to Move physique. It’s a perfect pairing of body architecture and artistic subject matter. Hernandez is a resident of Old Bridge, New Jersey — a hop, skip, and a limber jump from my hometown. She scooped up two medals during her Rio de Janeiro Olympics debut (a gold team medal and a silver for balance beam) and then followed up her winning ways by capturing the coveted Mirror Ball Trophy on television’s “Dancing with the Stars.” At age 16, she was the youngest celebrity to achieve that honor.
Today, Hernandez in 18 years old, and is recognized by Mattel as a Shero. Joining political activists, athletes, filmmakers, entrepreneurs, and other women of outstanding merit, the teenager epitomizes the Mattel Shero brand. She’s feisty, smart, independent, accomplished, driven, and optimistic. As an athlete, no matter how many injuries or setbacks she might have encountered, Hernandez never quit, surrendered, or held back. Her gymnastics records over the years are a testament to her persistence. She had her autobiography released before her 17th birthday, and “I Got This: To Gold and Beyond” launched her as a New York Times best-selling author. Hernandez is made to move and make an impact in real life, and her Mattel incarnation is Made to Move too!
Beyond a portrait Shero doll, the Made to Move characters include ball players, soccer stars, and yoga practitioners. The yoga dolls really show off the versatility of the 22 articulation points. If you’ve ever attempted a Downward Facing Dog or a Crouching Cat/Hidden Dragon (I made up that pose), then you’ll marvel at the ease at which Barbie can go from stretching her arms to bending at her knees to doing a split that would make a Dallas Cowboy cheerleader reconsider her career. The mingling of Made to Move with yoga is a genius move by Mattel.
What’s especially amazing about the Made to Move yoga creations is that they key into the national mood at the moment. Everyone, on both sides of the political aisle, needs to find a personal center of gravity, a tranquil peace of mind, and a more Zen-like attitude. Rather than sniping and sneering, folks should regroup, do research, and reach out for conversations and discussions, not screaming (or texting) matches and angry retorts (or posted comments). Maybe the Made to Move yoga Barbies will lead the way with a specially honed yoga pose: Upward Lifted U.S. Voters.
However, you are moved to pull the lever this election year, there is one fact of life we all can agree on: once the Made to Move dolls have hit the store shelves (and 2018 introduced a healthy dose of them), there is no turning back. These are a fantastic structure for all Mattel dolls, whether they are realistically walking a runway or running to score a winning goal.
Made to Move has made a true believer out of me. Hopefully, Mattel will see how this development has taken their dolls to a whole new lifelike level. I vote for more to be made, and maybe 26 points of articulation next time? Heck, maybe even 29!