This effort to remake Barbie as a progressive icon appears to be a calculated business decision on Mattel’s part to win over today’s millennial parents. While Barbie is still a powerful force in the toy market, generating $971 million in sales in 2016, younger parents have been less keen on buying the doll for their daughters than those in generations past. Mattel has seen sales of Barbie spiral downward since 2009.
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In other words, Barbie is caught in a bind: Mattel needs to sell parents on more progressive versions of the doll, but it might take years of marketing for this new version of Barbie to become familiar and exciting enough for kids to want them. “You have to do more than offer one of these curvy or career dolls in the corner,” Brown says. “It’s a chicken and egg problem: If you offer enough of these dolls, over time, once kids get used to them, eventually they will start asking for them. Then the dolls will become profitable and it would be worth stocking them.”
On this day in 1987…
He contained so much art and vision as to be a scene unto himself. Then he faded from view.
After alienating lovers and collaborators alike, Eastman was evicted from his apartment in the mid-’80s. Most of his scores were bagged and carted away—eventually lost to history. Details from his homeless period are sketchy (or contested), but it’s generally agreed that he lived in Tompkins Square Park and also suffered from some form of addiction. After he died, alone in a Buffalo hospital at age 49, it took eight months for an obituary to be published. Continue reading
Academy Award® nominated director David France’s (How to Survive a Plague) new documentary centers on self-described “street queen” Marsha P. Johnson, legendary fixture in New York City’s gay ghetto, who along with fellow trans icon Sylvia Rivera, founded Street Transvestites Action Revolutionaries (S.T.A.R.), a trans activist group based in the heart of NYC’s Greenwich Village. Mysteriously, Marsha was found floating in the Hudson River in 1992. At the time, the NYPD pegged her death as a suicide, a claim that Marsha’s comrades have always firmly rejected. Structured as a whodunit, with activist Victoria Cruz cast as detective and audience surrogate, The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson celebrates the lasting political legacy of Marsha P. Johnson, while seeking to finally solve the mystery of her unexplained death.
Sylvester was San Francisco’s biggest star and Cowley’s muse – a larger-than-life presence around town, dressed to the nines and often carrying multiple shopping bags as he walked down Castro Street. Cowley most famously worked with Sylvester on the ecstatic mega-hit You Make Me Feel (Mighty Real) and was a pioneer of the genre known as hi-NRG, a relentlessly uptempo variant of disco that gained serious traction, especially in the UK and Europe.
Mikael Owunna’s ‘Limit(less) Africans’ is a stunning visual tapestry of queer Africans’ styles, expressions, and communities. Continue reading
David Mancuso: DJ and dance culture pioneer, dies aged 72
Unlike the commercial clubs that existed to make a profit, Mancuso and particularly his event Love Saves the Day, offered a space for its members, often an LGBTQ audience, to celebrate nightlife without police interference.
“For me, the core [idea behind The Loft] is social progress,” he said in 2013. “How much social progress can there be when you’re in a situation that is repressive? You won’t get much social progress in a nightclub.
You Are Loved.
You Are Wanted.
Further evidence that the city is intent on shaking off any sign of personality that could distinguish it from, say, a strip mall in Terre Haute, Indiana: An original Keith Haring mural from the early ’80s, which winds through the stairwells of a rental house in Morningside, is quite likely to be painted over in a bid to entice more monied tenants into the building. Continue reading
This month was tough, with Orlando happening, and the posts that I’d hope to post containing our histories got obscured by work, life, and sorrow. Promise to do better next year. If you count the numerous articles linked in the Reading List on Orlando, you could say it was over 30+, and that would be both generous and appreciated. Continue reading