Don’t tell my daughters: “Barbie: The Dreamhouse Experience” has landed in South Florida, opening its 10,000-square foot, first-of-its-kind doors to worldwide visitors on Wednesday.
Like many other Californians seeking to escape stifling regulation, Barbie has left Malibu for … the Sawgrass Mall in Sunrise.
The Dreamhouse took two years to create and features an “endless closet” in addition to all other types of home rooms, where guests are invited to interact through various multimedia features and can get made-over by Barbie staff before taking their own stroll down a runway.
While Barbie celebrated her 54th birthday on March 9 of this year, I don’t believe any of the at least 3,000 Barbie dolls in the house have themselves aged. Instead, the Dreamhouse experience is devoted to “the fashionista and multi-career role model.”
So, let’s talk about Barbie’s careers.
I’ve been holding onto an April 2013 analysis in The Economist that describes how the price of a Barbie doll varies by its profession.
“Most in the ‘Barbie I can be…’ collection cost $13.99,” the column reads, “But some, like ‘computer engineer’ … can fetch two or three times more. This can’t simply be explained by the cheap accessories that come with it.”
Their explanation? Price discrimination: the concept that “sellers exploit parental hopes that a girl playing paleontologist may grow up to be the real thing, so charge more.”
While moderate correlation exists between Barbie’s selling price and the average wages of her professions, some outliers exist. The Economist explains, “Inexpensive pilot dolls are paid quite a lot in life, and despite babysitter Barbie’s moderately high price, she would take home a pittance as a childcare worker.”
Just something to keep in mind, if you choose, when doing the Dreamhouse tour with your little ones.
As reported in the Sun-Sentinel, Sean McGowan, a toy industry analyst, said Barbie’s new house will likely serve as an experimental project for the company to determine whether it can replicate the concept with its other brands.
To which I tell Mattel, if that happens, at least let it be an interactive museum of board games. Or something with Hot Wheels.
Karen Cyphers, PhD, is a public policy consultant, researcher, and mother to three daughters.