Barbie or No Barbie?

December 4, 2009 Katja Presnal

Barbie or No Barbie?

Barbie 50th anniversary, Barbie Mattel, Barbie as old

Barbie turned 50 this year, and I have been meaning to write about the many 50th Anniversary adventures of Barbie, but for some reason, none of the started posts ever made it here. Not even the one about Barbie fashion show, where all the models looked like Barbies and the best of the best designers made collections just for Barbie. Barbie 50th Anniversary Fashion Show I loved Barbies when I was a kid. I loved making clothes for the dolls, and decorating their houses. And from the marketing and branding aspects, Barbie fascinates me as one of the amazing marketing success stories. Now when I’m a mom of two young girls, I sort of have mixed feelings about my long term girlfriend, Barbie. My girls have Barbie dolls, even though they are not as obsessed excited about dressing them up and decorating their houses as I was when I was as a kid, and don’t really play with them often. My girls like playing online games though, and used to visit Barbie website often for fun games. One of those days when my 9-year-old was playing online games she calls for her younger sister to come and check out something funny. “Ken is naked on Facebook” they giggle. And what do you know – my daughter had clicked on an ad on one of the children’s gaming sites, a Barbie’s Facebook page ad, and found herself clicking on a virtual version of those pens that you flipped and the picture changes. And when you click this virtual pen, Ken’s shirt comes off and text is covering the private parts making it visually easy to think he is naked. Suitable for kids..?

Ken naked, Barbie FacebookKen naked, Barbie Facebook

If Barbie were a real person, she would be over 6 feet, weigh 100 lbs. wearing a size 4 and her bra size would be 39 FF. Based on research done by Rader Programs, Barbie’s body fat percentage would be so low, she could not menstruate, hold up her back and neck, and would have to crawl on all fours due to her legs and feet, and would have many medical problems. And yet our culture adores her, and we desire to be her. fashion Barbie fashion Barbie I salute to the President Barbie, and wish Barbie well when she flies to the moon and thank Barbie when she saves animals as a vet, but at the same time I wonder why she is blonde, with long legs, big boobs and obsession to fashion. And being a totally wrong kind of role model for our girls just with her looks. I think the problem is that some of the Barbie products are meant for older girls and adults, but yet children are exposed to them. But all girls are not buying into the Barbie cult. Like the teen girl band Care Bears On Fire – check out their “Barbie Eat a Sandwich” music video. Reminds me of another song made about Barbie… Aqua’s “Barbie Girl”. When Aqua’s parody song “Barbie Girl” in 1997 topped at the billboards worldwide, making fun of Barbies Mattel sued Aqua and their record company. Mattel claimed that the song violated the Barbie trademark and turned Barbie into a sex object.

I’m a barbie girl, in the barbie world Life in plastic, it’s fantastic! you can brush my hair, undress me everywhere Imagination, life is your creation

I’m a blond bimbo girl, in the fantasy world Dress me up, make it tight, I’m your dolly

Mattel lost the lawsuit. And later on bought the song and now uses it in their latest TV Commercials. Well, with little altered words. But wait. There is more. fashion Barbie There is the burka Barbie. A Barbie Show of more than 500 Barbies launched at the Salone dei Cinquecento, in Florence, Italy on November 20th and is already becoming one of the most talked subjects of Barbie’s 50th anniversary year. Italian designer Eliana Lorena designed clothing for the Barbie dolls of the show, and the whole purpose I hear is to show that there is a Barbie for every girl in the world – that every girl in the world can find a Barbie that they can relate to. While the clothing designs are done by Eliana Lorena, Mattel is sponsoring the event. Now, one of the outfits Barbie is wearing is burka, and to top it off, the burka Barbie dolls will be auctioned off and the proceeds will benefit the Save the Children charity. Burka is a a symbol of oppression and they are degrading to women. I understand the need to create diverse dolls, but why with something as degrading as burka? I’m speechless. Part of me wants to share my childhood love of Barbie with my girls, but I’m OK that they are not circling the newest Barbies from the Holiday circulars and writing her name on the letters to Santa. What’s your Barbie policy? Photos: Mattel Design Boom: Making Barbie Daily Mail: It’s Barbie in a burkha: World-famous doll gets a makeover to go under the hammer for 50th anniversary

Katja Presnal

Katja Presnal shows how to live Nordic inspired life to the fullest and plan your dream life. Katja owns Presnal5 strategic marketing intelligence agency and wants to help marketing professionals to combine a dream career and dream life via freelance work. Katja is an award-winning marketing strategist, and a well-known speaker. Katja has lived in five different countries, and seven states in the USA. Her three children were all born in different countries within three years. When not working or jet-setting the world, Katja is at home cooking big family dinners. She has been featured in NY Times, Glamour, Redbook, Fodor's, Forbes and Woman's Day magazines among many other national and international publications and written for MTV3 and Lifetime TV networks.

Comments (4)

  1. Sky

    I can remember playing with Barbies when I was a little girl, I even found a Barbie in the closet that was supposed to be a Christmas gift. My brother played with G.I. Joes, and it annoyed him to pieces when I insisted that his G.I. Joes save my Barbies.

    At this point, it’s hard to say if Paige will play with Barbies or not.

  2. Naomi

    I never played with baby dolls but I liked the whole fashion/dress-up part of Barbie, too. Of course I was a kid in the ’80s and they were all big haired and fake tanned with hot pink lipstick. I remember chopping off one’s hair into an asymmetrical bob and smoothing it straight with some cordovan shoe polish… which made it look startlingly like your hairdo! Much cooler. My mom was not so amused.

    I think it’s okay for girls to play with Barbies as long as their parents have an open dialogue about the unrealistic look and lifestyle, the same with celebrity role models who don’t seem to be famous for anything in particular. It’s probably totally hypocritical but I am cool with Roo having Barbies but I won’t let her have Bratz.

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