Pop Culture Fix: Mattel Isn’t Selling Abby Wambach Barbies and Lily-Rose Depp Isn’t Gay

Hello! Welcome to your weekly Pop Culture Fix! I am obsessed with The People vs. OJ Simpson Show, have you been watching it? My girlfriend is ten years younger than me and therefore IMHO is not appropriately interested in the program. Sarah Paulson as Marcia Clark, though.

This Week In Redactions

Screenshot 2016-02-10 10.41.18

+ At the MAKERS2016 Conference last week, the Vice President of Barbie Global Kim Culmone was thrilled to unveil a new “Shero” doll modeled after soccer player Abby Wambach. “We know that this doll will inspire young girls to be as incredible as the woman who has inspired us all,” she told the crowd before bringing Abby to the stage. The announcement was well-received by a wide array of media outlets and feminist organizations, including us.

However, despite all this… apparently Mattel only intended to make one Abby Wambach Barbie? You know, the one they gave to Abby Wambach. Kim Culmone couldn’t be reached for comment, but I’m pretty sure she’d want to say something like this: “I know this doll will inspire Abby Wambach to be as incredible as Abby Wambach.”

+ This story is a little more complicated to decipher. As you may recall, Lily Rose-Depp recently posed for The Self-Evident Truths Project, a photography series intended to showcase members of the LGBTQ community who identify as “anything besides 100% heterosexual.” The media covered the story as a “coming out” of sorts, using terms like “queer” or “sexually fluid” or “not straight” (We settled for “some kind of LGBTQ,” in line with the photography project’s stated mission) to describe what she had “come out” as, and her father Johnny Depp allegedly told the press that although her social media followers were surprised by the announcement, he already knew.

But in an interview with NYLON Magazine this month, Rose-Depp says her participation was misconstrued, but then goes on to say things that do not, in fact, contradict most reporting on her participation? I’m not judging or holding anything against her — she’s a teenager and owes us all exactly nothing — but perhaps this situation just speaks to the murkiness of language around sexuality, particularly the word “queer.” Because somehow, Rose-Depp walked away from the experience thinking that everybody thought she was gay:

Lily-Rose: I was just trying to say that it’s unnecessary; you don’t need to label yourself. I guess it came off the wrong way, because then everyone labeled me as gay. That’s not what I was trying to say. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, of course! But I did that literally just to say you don’t have to label yourself, and then everyone was like, “Lily Rose Depp comes out as gay!”
Harley Quinn: The response just reaffirms that everyone’s like, “You have to stick to something,” which is so stupid.
Lily-Rose: Exactly! They just wanted to say that I was something. They just wanted to say that I was straight or gay. And I’m just saying…
Harley Quinn: You’re saying the opposite. You don’t have to…
Lily-Rose: No, I’m saying it doesn’t matter! It’s not anybody’s business, because I am going to date whoever I’m going to date. I was just saying, kids don’t need to label their sexualities. It’s not that big of a deal.



+ Red Lobster, who has really never struggled to attract humans to eat at its restaurants, is now ESPECIALLY busy because Beyoncé.

+ Jesmyn Ward on Formation: “She sings to those of us who grew up black in the American South, who swam through Hurricane Katrina, who watched the world sink, who starved for two weeks after the eye passed, who left our dead floating in our houses.” 

+ Reverend Irene Monroe on how Beyoncé Does Justice to New Orleans’s Rich Queer Culture.

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+ A lesbian YouTube couple have secured a deal with Streamup, and I’m not entirely sure what that means, but this is what the President Streamup says it means: “BriaAndChrissy are THE online voice of this LGBT generation, I’m more than proud to consider them colleagues and what we’re planning with them at Streamup will further solidify their status as the most influential lesbian couple in the world.”

+ YouTube Red is getting into the original content game with a handful of new series and films. One of them is a transgender documentary from Gigi Gorgeous which will  explore “the intimate journey of a transgender woman from her childhood to life as a successful media personality. Together, they will ask the question, “What does it mean to be transgender in the uncensored new media world?” There’s also a show called ”

+ Miriam Margolyes, who played Professor Sprout in Harry Potter and plays Aunt Prudence in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteriestalked to Pink News about how her horribly homophobic parents made her swear on a Bible not to sleep with a woman. She’s been with her partner Heather Sutherland for 50 years.

+ Hollywood has a hipster homophobia problem.

+ Gird your loins, Frozen is coming to Broadway in 2018.

+ In addition to being transphobic, Zoolander 2 also happens to suck. So it has that in common with Stonewall.

+ “Portraying gay men as witty and well-dressed makes them feel inadequate in real life, claims a new study. Really? There’s more to modern gay characters than the sexless sidekick.”

+ This is an infographic about relationships and Netflix.

+ The trailer for Fuller House is here. So.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3228 articles for us.


  1. Have we officially confirmed that Zoolander 2 is transphobic? It certainly appeared that way in the trailer :(

    • Also, I will read every piece on Beyoncé/Formation that I can find, so thank you.

      Also also, Professor Sprout and I have the same fear:
      “My only fear is she will die before me, or that I will die before her – and one of them is going to happen, unless we have a suicide pact.”

    • Just as a side note though, from a lady who works in the industry the “sheroes” initiative only rolls out one of a kind dolls celebrating important ladies and girls in different feels. Last year’s group included Mayhem (the girl who created the paper outfits with her mom and ended up on Jcrew), Ava DuVernay, Eva Chen and a few others. Each honoree got to keep a custom doll and i believe a additional copy was donated to charity. I do think a mass produced edition would be neat, but given that this was a “Sheroe” doll it’s also understandable.

  2. Come on, Mattel, that was a really stupid business decision. Take a look at all the publicity you got with just one photograph.

    • I agree, specially the cheesy lines. On the plus side it’s nice to see Jodi working again after what she has gone through.

  3. Surely it would make more sense, financially, to produce the dolls than to either run a bot or pay someone to apologize to every disappointed tweet/email.

        • Why not just today? Fuckit, let’s all write once a week and cut that down to 5-10 years. Like in Shawshank, when he writes for books for the prison!

  4. On the Mattel front, I will say that last year they faced a similar blowback when they made only one of their special edition “Ava Duvernay” Barbie, but after the fan reaction was so large, they re-released a larger amount of her for Christmas. I mean the special edition doll *still* cost like $80 and the only people I know who secured one are basically celebrities. But, it’s something.

    I could see a similar (if not better, more democratized) thing happen for the Abby Barbie.

    The “Fuller House” trailer reminds me EXACTLY of “Full House”, so I suppose mileage may vary in regards to your reaction to it based on your love of the original. And if you think the original has held up now that you are no longer under the age of 10. (For the record, it hits me in my nostalgia places and I’m happy to climb aboard).

  5. “BriaAndChrissy are THE online voice of this LGBT generation, I’m more than proud to consider them colleagues and what we’re planning with them at Streamup will further solidify their status as the most influential lesbian couple in the world.”

    LOL, who?

    • I tried to play Guess who? with my 18yo -ish students and half the names they chose were YouTubers and since none of them were Harto I was constantly saying “Uh, who?”

      I am torn between getting more into YouTube or just continuing to feel old when it comes up.

    • I don’t know who Bria and Chrissy are, I don’t know what Streamup is, I watch Youtube like once in a blue moon and every year when Carmilla comes out. I must not be part of “this LGBT generation.” Maybe I was a part of the last one :-P

    • This is MY JOB and i have no idea who they are! I’ve never watched an entire video by a YouTuber except a few of Hannah’s, I think.

    • I KNOW, right? I didn’t know who they were until I was at The Abbey during Pride and these two girls got on stage where the go go dancers had been twerking and started singing/rapping. I was like “Who are these people?” to my friend and then we went outside because they were hurting my ears. Then a drunk witch told me that she was going to hex me because I was from the same hometown as her ex. Then someone handed me a free donut! Ohhhhh, Pride…..

    • You know all those clickbait videos going around lately that are like “gay men touch a vagina for the first time” or “lesbians touch a penis for the first time”? Well we unfortunately have Bria and Chrissy to thank for that. Those are their videos.

      I find that lesbians on Youtube aren’t nearly as popular in general as their gay brothers and definitely not as popular as the straight ones but that’s a given. The only lesbian Youtubers I can think of with over a million followers are Harto and Ingrid Nilsen and the later had those millions of subs BEFORE coming out.

      • I should add that given Hannah and Ingrid’s subscriber count(nearly 3 and 4 million respectively), shouldn’t they be considered the more influential lesbian couple on social media? Bria and Chrissy don’t have near the same amount of viewership or influence.

      • Wait they were the ones who did that? That sounds like something a cishet person would come up with.

        I wonder how these two’s viewership compares to Rose and Rosie.

        • Bria and Chrissy have nearly 600,000 subs and growing thanks to their recent viral videos. Rose has nearly 500,000 and Rosie’s 200,000 but they post most of their videos on Rose’s channel so the gap between the two isn’t so surprising. But yeah, Hannah and Ingrid beat all of them by a big margin.

      • WHOA, I thought you were parodying clickbait titles with “lesbians touch a penis for the first time”, but no. That is a real video they actually made.

  6. Miriam Margoyles. I just don’t like her. She’s on the Graham Norton Show from time to time and I just think she is quite rude to the other guests at times. Professor Sprout on the other hand MASSIVE FAN. PUFFS4LYF.

    • I met Margolies once many years ago and found her quite abrasive. But, who said all lesbians have to be nice!

  7. omg The People vs. OJ Simpson is so good! the whole time i was watching the latest episode i was remembering how I was sitting at my grandparents’ house in LA watching the bronco chase! like, our whole day revolved around watching it! i feel like this show is kind of killing it with the casting

    • I remember the chase vividly as I was annoyed it was slow and they interrupted a Laker game to show it. Good to know they did a great job with the cast, I noticed it’s on demand(on my cable box) so I will watch it during the weekend.

    • I’m really liking it. I can’t believe I’m falling for a Ryan Murphy show again. I promised myself I wouldn’t do that again

  8. So what exactly IS Lily saying, that she’s not apart of the LGBT community? Or I don’t like labels but No Homo? Because from what I saw, nobody actually called her specifically “gay” or “lesbian”.

    If the project was about showcasing members of the LGBTQ community then why was she apart of it if she doesn’t consider herself apart of the community? I’m confused. There is a difference between saying that you think people “don’t have to label themselves” as opposed to “I consider myself queer and/or apart of the LGBTQ community. She seems to be protesting the latter. So again, why was she even participating in this project. No Shade. That’s a legitimate question. That spot could have went to someone else who actually is apart of our community. But I suppose she was included because of who her father is knowing it would draw attention to the project. Same old Hollywood story.

  9. I identify as 75% Dumbledore and 25% Professor Sprout, which according to my math makes me 100% gay!

  10. That Slate article on hipster homophobia is killing me/giving me all of the reasons to write a g-darn screenplay.

  11. Since Mattel isn’t going to follow through, now is the time for the AS store pick up the slack. Make me an Abby barbie, guys. Make all my dreams from last week come true.

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