Barbie has long been an image of what women should not necessarily aspire to, especially in terms of appearance. Mattel is taking some serious heat of late for the African-American doll included in its Barbie Basics Collection.
From First Coast News:
A new Barbie doll is causing quite a stir and has some parents horrified. The African-American doll featured in the Barbie Basics Collection is wearing a very low cut dress with visible cleavage.
Uh, yeah, “visible cleavage” is quite an understatement. This is especially distressing when you consider that the concept of an African-American Barbie doll is in and of itself pretty new.
Naturally, parents are up in arms … and, somewhat surprisingly, on both sides. Two mothers from Minnesota weighed in:
“What parent would buy this for their kid?” Andie Whitaker said. “Is that really an appropriate image you want to display for your young daughter? I doubt my daughter will have it, and I don’t want her to think she has to be a busty Barbie who’s constantly wearing heels in low cut shirts.”
A different viewpoint for Suzy Sullivan of Coon Rapids. She grew up with Barbies and so are her two young daughters. “They are mimicking the dresses their mothers wear for date night with their husbands or boyfriends,” Sullivan said. “There’s nothing wrong with that.”
Uh … wow. Now, I was more prone to playing Star Wars action figures with my brother, but my sister was a Barbie aficionado. My brother and I used to terrorize her by having the Millennium Falcon swoop down from on high and blast apart the tea party her Barbies were having. That being said, my sister grew up to be successful and stylish in her own way and not at all Barbie-like.
And, uh, my brother and I do not bomb buildings. Or people. Or impossibly large-chested, thin-waisted plastic women.
So the repercussions for this Barbie? Evidently, not much:
The Barbie Basics Collection is sold at various retailers, including Target. They said the collection will continue being sold; however, there’s no word if this specific Barbie with the low cut dress will be pulled.
… And Mattel has not commented as of yet.
Controversy around Barbie dolls is not new … but is this doll literally hanging out of her dress taking it a step too far? I’m thinking yes, particularly when you consider the double standard presented by some positive, women empowerment directions the company is going in at the same time.
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