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Oh NOW You’re Worried About the Message Barbie Sends

June 1, 2010

Since her inception, Barbie has had a controversial side. “Materialistic”, “unrealistic proportions”, “feminist”, even “plastic” have been used as derogatory adjectives to describe her.  Now we have another one:

Busty.

According to the Barbie Collector Website, Busty Barbie (as detractors are calling her) “features the Desiree face sculpt, African American skin tone, a striking black dress with plunging neckline, and long sleek hair.”

Busty Barbie also features… Lets call ’em “marketing tools”.  She isn’t for kids – the people buying her are adult collectors. And whatever the controversy, Mattel isn’t pulling her off the shelves any time soon.
Personally, I’m not so upset by this doll as I am by “Bratz” – which features a younger, more cartoonish style doll, DEFINITELY marketed toward children, with a style of dress that makes the above doll look like mother Theresa.  Honestly, which doll seems less savory, the Barbie above or this:
Moreover, which doll would you be more uncomfortable with your daughter dressing like?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not buying either doll for my daughter – I have a more fundamental problem with Barbie in general and, well, Bratz are trash pure and simple –  I’m just saying that, for her specific market, Busty Barbie doesn’t fall as far outside culturally established boundaries as many would have us believe.  Outside MY family’s boundaries?  Absolutely!  Outside the boundaries of, say, a typical New York Socialite? Not even close.
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