Fulla, the olive-skinned Barbie-esque doll that is targeted to Middle Eastern and Islamic girls was released in 2003. The doll, who quite obviously bears resemblance to the Western Pink Princess, Barbie, is marketed as, “the little girl who wears modest outfits, her top priorities are respect for herself, and those all around her and being kind to her friends and peers.” (Fulla.us)
Fulla.us also states of the brunette doll, “We take pride promoting the virtues to help girls be the very best today so they grow to be the women who make a difference tomorrow.” Fulla is a product which seems to be spawned solely from good ethics and high mortality and seems to be an all around positive contribution to its target market. The doll is currently enjoying huge success in the Middle East.
According to an article entitled, “Fulla” – the Arab World’s Barbie of khaleejtimes.com, “The toy capitalizes on the islamization of cultural life in the Arab world as evidenced in a heightened focus on dress and rituals.”
It seems clear that Fulla promotes positivity and self- respect; however, the doll has indeed raised controversy. Katie Cercone’s article, Fulla Flap, claims, “She’s a plaything, yes, but she’s also an emblem of the cultural pressure to conform to one extremely limiting female role.” Cercone believes that Fulla instills a religious conformity among young Middle Eastern women, much like Barbie is commonly believed to create a desire for materialism and beauty among Western girls. Cercone implies that Fulla is “a residual effect of the recent upsurge of religious fundamentalism in the Middle East.”
In this light, it seems Fulla’s got some deeper motives than the altruistic, friendly, brown-eyed beauty initially conveys.
Now here lies my opinion, which is quite simple: Fulla, much like Barbie was created for one purpose: $$$. She is a product of capitalism, much like the blonde, blue eyed bombshell, Barbie. Put simply, Fulla and Barbie wouldn’t exist for any other reason: Not to promote religious views, companionship, or to provide enterainment for young girls. These two plastic dolls would cease to exist without the monetary motivations that exists so predominantly on this Earth: Middle Eastern, Western- anywhere .