Human Flower Project
Thursday, December 15, 2005
The Arabian flower with a B-cup is darling of the Middle East.
In the Muslim world, girls are looking past December 25 to the Eid al-Adha holiday in January, as visions of Fulla, and her passel of Islamic accessories, dance in their heads.
Modest breasts, no date for the prom, a hijab (or head scarf), and minimal make-up, Fulla is Muslim Barbie. “More than 1.3 million dolls, at $16 each, have been sold since the toy hit the shelves in November 2003.”
She’s a Human Flower Project because of her name, which is Arabic for (we think) Jasminium sambac. The stylized drawings on Fulla’s pink packaging look like jasmine blooms, but because Yasmine is also a popular female name in parts of the Middle East, we find the floral identity of “Fulla” a bit perplexing. One site says the name means gardenia, another refers to a flower of the Levant “often made into garlands.” Arabic readers, please help us out.
In any case, Fulla’s pink heels take another small step for Western hegemony. If you can’t beat ‘em, sell ‘em. The Central Intelligence Agency appears outdated; to overcome evil-doers, a la Foucault, better to decentralize and short-circuit the intellect all together, going straight to the primal desire for miniature handbags, pink jeans and prayer rugs.
Susan Taylor Martin of the St. Petersburg Times has done an especially fine job of following Fulla from her introduction a year ago to her new sidekicks “Yasmeen and Nada” and (with a feint toward Hinduism) her latest incarnations: Singing Fulla and “Walking Fulla, pushing a luggage cart with suitcases to hold the dozens of seasonal outfits that crowd her closet.”
The doll, like Barbie, is made in China, but sold by a company in Damascus called NewBoy. A representative of the firm says Fulla was developed “to reflect Arab values….She’s not only a sexy lady, but she’s honest, loving and caring and respects her mother and father.” Barbie was loving and caring, wasn’t she? (Was she?) Well, she sure wanted sidekicks and “dozens of seasonal outfits.”