How Barbie Conquered Shanghai
On Friday, March 6, Mattel is opening a six-story, 38,000-sq.-ft. Barbie superstore in Shanghai. "The plan," according to GlobalPost, "is to turn America's favorite doll into fashion fodder for China's upwardly mobile, trend-setting elite." Will a plastic blonde with a dreamhouse really capture the hearts of Chinese yuppies?
With sales slumping stateside, Mattel is eyeing that nation of 1.5 billion customers in efforts to ride out the recession. So while Barack Obama is moving the United States to the left, American capitalism appears to be strengthening its grip farther east. In addition to lots of dolls, the boutique will feature a hair salon, a bar and a $15,000, adult-sized Vera Wang gown.
"By moving up-market and focusing on Barbie-branded merchandise, the company hopes to widen profit margins and attract a new demographic: Chinese women," explains GlobalPost's Emily Rauhala. Barbie is about to turn 50 years old, and the iconic doll's "made-in-China makeover" is part of a push to re-brand the little hottie before she has a midlife crisis.
Reactions are mixed among Chinese women--some embrace the new blonde princess, others prefer dolls with Chinese features. Rauhala quotes Xiaoming Ai, a professor at Sun Yat-sen University, who says brands that target women often push a “discourse of modernity” that commercializes the female body. Advertisers urge women to spend their way to a perfect form, while analysts say a lack of public discussion on sex and gender here makes it hard for alternative perspectives on femininity to emerge."
Either way, Professor Ai is not focusing that much time on battling Barbie. "She has other concerns, says Rauhala, such as domestic violence, sexual assault and the broader fight for civil and human rights in China."
The way that you think about stress can actually transform the effect that it has on you – and others.
- Stress is contagious, and the higher up in an organization you are the more your stress will be noticed and felt by others.
- Kelly McGonigal teaches "Reset your mindset to reduce stress" for Big Think Edge.
- Subscribe to Big Think Edge before we launch on March 30 to get 20% off monthly and annual memberships.
The issues that determine your health go way beyond seeing your doctor.
- The average American spends about 24 hours a year at the doctor's office.
- What you do the other 364 days a year mostly determines your health.
- Michael Dowling discusses Northwell's focus on environmental, social, economic and other social determinants of health.
The blood of horseshoe crabs is harvested on a massive scale in order to retrieve a cell critical to medical research. However, recent innovations might make this practice obsolete.
- Horseshoe crabs' blue blood is so valuable that a quart of it can be sold for $15,000.
- This is because it contains a molecule that is crucial to the medical research community.
- Today, however, new innovations have resulted in a synthetic substitute that may end the practice of farming horseshoe crabs for their blood.
These quick bursts of inspiration will brighten your day in 10 minutes or less.
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