The Barbie doll was invented by Ruth Handler, founder of the toy company Mattel, naming it after her daughter Barbara. Through the years, Barbie became a cultural icon. The fashion doll is sought after not only by young girls but also by collectors all around the world. However, popularity sometimes comes with a price – criticisms and controversies, criticism and controversies that Barbie faced head on and survived since its invention on 1959. These are the Top 5 Barbie doll controversies which caused uproar to young girls’ parents and to concerned citizens.
5. Barbie Video Girl and Child Pornography
In 2010, Mattel released its new version of the Barbie doll: The Barbie Video Girl. This Barbie doll features a pinhole video camera on its chest, disguised as a necklace. The camera can record clips of up to 30 minutes and can be uploaded to a computer using a USB cable. However, on November 2010, the FBI issued a warning in a private memorandum saying that the said doll can be used in making child pornography but it was said that there were “no reported evidence that the doll had been used in any way other than intended.”
4. Barbie and Tattoos
Toys play a large role in influencing a child’s lifestyle. That’s why a lot of concerned parents reacted when Mattel launched the Totally Tattoos Barbie. The said version features a myriad of tattoos, including a lower back tattoo, which really stirred up a controversy. This also happened when the toy company released its Tokidoki Barbie doll which has pink-dyed hair and a lot of tattoos. These dolls stirred up a lot of issues and made parents angry because of the thought that it can influence their daughters to be “rebellious” at a very young age.
3. The Sweet-Turned-Sour Idea of Oreo Barbie
Back in 1997, a cross-promotion of Barbie dolls and Oreo cookies was done. The result was the Oreo Fun Barbie, a doll in an Oreo cookie-themed outfit produced in both white and black. However, this caused an outrage among the African-American community. Critics said that the word Oreo is a slanderous term used to describe a person that is “black on the outside but white on the inside”, just like the cookie. This caused a backlash and resulted to a product pull-out.
2. Happy Family
In 2002, Mattel launched a doll set with Midge and her baby. Midge is Barbie’s girl best friend. Midge was shown to be pregnant lady with her attachable baby in the womb in the Happy Family Doll Set. The doll set was complete with the baby’s needs, crib, table, and even a cradle. However, there is one which is lacking in the set – the father. The set was supposed to teach values of family life to children but since it lacked the father figure, parents were outrageous saying that it was promoting teenage pregnancy. Due to this unfortunate and unforeseen event, the dolls were immediately pulled out from the market.
1. Don’t Eat!
One of the most common criticisms of Barbie is the issue of anorexia since Barbie depicts an image of a lady who has an unrealistic body for a young girl. This leads to danger when girls attempt to imitate her and tend to become anorexic. Not only that, the Slumber Party Barbie and Barbie Baby-Sits versions of the doll came with a book entitled How to Lose Weightand guess what it advised. You’re right! It advised, “Don’t eat!” The Slumber Party Barbie set also came with a bathroom scale which was permanently set to 35 lbs., which is underweight for a woman whose height is 5 feet and 9 inches. These really caused issues and worried parents. In Mattel’s defense, they said that Barbie’s waist was made smaller because the waistbands and seams of her clothes added some weight to her unrealistic figure.
What do you think about these controversial dolls? Did we forget something? Tell us about it! We’d Love to hear from you!
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