It seems as though our dear friend, the Barbie doll has undergone a rather dramatic makeover recently. The Tokidoki Barbie is a pretty “rad” version of the girl with a pink bobbed haircut, leopard leggings and stick on tattoos. The makeover has many parents up in arms over it. They are worried that it will influence young girls into wanting their own tattoos. Because the Barbie doll in all her big boobed, no waisted perfect bodied self has helped little girls everywhere with image. Right.
Not to say that I didn’t play with my share of Barbies as a kid and that I don’t have an entire case full of them in my garage from when my girls were little. Loved her. Loved all the versions of her. Loved the dream house, cool cars, great clothes, surfboards and especially the shoes! Oh my goodness what I would give for that shoe wardrobe!
What exactly did Barbie help ourselves and our little girls aspire to? I know for myself my girlfriends and I simply liked to change her outfits, make up dialog for her and sometimes have her have pretend sex with Ken. None of this shaped my life in any way. We just played. I did not grow up trying to achieve a 12′ waist, live in a pink house or date stiff looking blonde men.
Young girls have enough problems with image and self esteem. If Barbie is a role model for them she may need a body transformation. Maybe her boobs could be a bit smaller, her waist a little thicker. Maybe her nose wouldn’t be the perfect shape. Maybe she would have thick ankles.
If the only real thing parents are complaining about are the tattoos there is a problem. She is just a hipper version of the standard Barbie, it’s not a big deal. She still has proportions that are absurd. Over the years there have been some parodies on the doll. We have had “Trailer Trash Barbie”, “Knocked up Teen Barbie, Zombie Barbie and a myriad of other funny knock offs. Of course they are fake as we dare not tarnish the image of our favorite blonde with the perkiest boobs in doll world. But maybe having an actual Mattel made Barbie that isn’t perfect would be okay.
Barbie is a 1.5 billion dollar a year industry. She has had more than 80 careers since her introduction in 1959. She has evolved as times have changed. She went to college in 1964, the army in 1992. Mattel has managed to keep her in non stop production for over 50 years. So what’s the big deal if she evolves into a fun fashionista with pink hair? The idea of dolls is to PLAY. Isn’t it the job of a parent to teach a child the difference between fantasy play and reality?
I don’t personally have a tattoo and never wanted one. But when my girls were little we played with temporary ones because they were FUN. Neither one of them have them now, nor any desire to. If parents don’t want their kids to play with this particular Barbie so be it. The company should not have to stop manufacturing them because of it. There are many products on the market that people may not agree with that sell millions.