Barbie lining caskets in El Salvador.

Barbie lining caskets in El Salvador.

The Rise of Barbie Mania in Latin America: Pink Coffins, Protests, and Searching Mothers

Barbie Coffins

Barbie has always been an iconic figure, capturing the hearts of generations of young girls around the world. But in Latin America, Barbie mania has taken on a whole new level of intensity, inspiring trends, protests, and even macabre creations. From pink coffins to Barbie-themed activism, the influence of this beloved doll is stretching beyond the toy aisle.

Pink Coffins: Embracing the Barbie Craze Even in Death

Who says Barbie fans have to stop loving her at the end of their lives? At the Alpha and Omega Funeral Home in Ahuachapán, El Salvador, owner Isaac Villegas is offering an unconventional option for those who want to show their devotion to Barbie even in death. Pink metal coffins adorned with pictures of the doll and little white stars have become the latest craze in funeral arrangements.

Villegas had already introduced the option of pink coffins before the release of the Barbie movie in July. However, after witnessing the fervor that swept through Latin America, he decided to capitalize on the trend. The funeral home has already sold 10 of these distinctive coffins, although not everyone who purchased them has been buried in them yet. In El Salvador, it is common for people to buy pre-paid burial packages for the future.

Until a year ago, traditional coffin colors like brown, black, white, or gray were the popular choices among families. However, the sale of the first pink coffin to a family who wanted their cheerful relative to be laid to rest in a happier-colored coffin changed the tide. Villegas now plans to offer more pink coffins, recognizing the growing demand for this unconventional option.

Barbie Mania: Beyond the Coffins

Barbie’s influence in Latin America extends far beyond funeral arrangements. The region has fully embraced Barbie mania, with various manifestations of their love for the doll. Pink-colored tacos and pastries, commercial planes bearing the Barbie logo, and even Barbie-themed political ads have become part of the cultural landscape.

However, Barbie mania has also taken on a more critical tone in some instances. In July, anti-government protesters in Lima, Peru’s capital, dressed two women in pink and placed them inside giant Barbie boxes in the main square. This act aimed to draw attention to President Dina Boluarte, whose administration has been involved in clashes with demonstrators. The imagery of the protest highlighted the perceived superficiality and ineffectiveness of the government.

In Mexico, a sister of one of the country’s missing persons has used Barbie as a medium to raise awareness. She started sewing doll outfits to create a “Searching Mother” Barbie, symbolizing the relentless efforts of volunteers who scour Mexico’s desolate plains in search of gravesites that might contain the remains of their missing children. Created by volunteer searcher Delia Quiroa, the “Searching Mother” Barbie serves as a powerful symbol of the tireless advocacy carried out by mothers who are forced to take on the search and investigative work abandoned by the authorities.

Barbie, Culture, and Social Commentary

The undeniable influence of Barbie in Latin America highlights the doll’s ability to permeate various aspects of society, from trends and commercialism to political activism and social commentary. Barbie has become a blank canvas allowing people to express their perspectives, desires, and frustrations.

The rise of pink coffins is a fascinating example of how individuals choose to embrace Barbie even in death. It is a testament to the enduring impact this cultural icon has had on generations across Latin America. Whether it’s a whimsical way to add color to traditional funeral practices or a solemn symbol of remembrance, these pink coffins reflect the deep emotional connection people have with the doll.

Simultaneously, the use of Barbie in protests and activism speaks to the power of symbolism and collective action. By appropriating Barbie’s image, activists hope to draw attention to their causes and spark conversations about societal issues. The pink-clad protesters in Lima challenged authorities, while the “Searching Mother” Barbie shed light on the struggles faced by those searching for their missing loved ones.

Barbie’s influence is vast and ever-evolving. From the toy aisle to our final resting places, she continues to captivate hearts, spark debates, and serve as a lens through which we examine our culture and society. Whether it’s pink coffins or protest stunts, Barbie’s impact in Latin America is a testament to the enduring power of a cultural icon.

Original Article