In an attempt to boost sales and draw attention to the aging Barbie brand, Mattel hired an Italian designer to “update” Barbie for their collector’s line. The end result? A chic pink bob and a sexy, Paris Hilton inspired wardrobe complete with leopard leggings, silver platforms, small dog, and large tattoos.
Needless to say, some moms are upset – especially about the tattoos. In Mattel’s defense, this Barbie can only be purchased online at a site for Barbie collectors and it’s $50 price tag will keep it out of the hands of all but the most spoiled little girls.
Is this the worst thing in the world? No. Next to her cheap street-walker competition, Bratz dolls, Barbie’s “clubbing Hollywood starlet” look, seems relatively benign.
But is Barbie’s new look the mark of things to come for the rest of the line? It wasn’t too long ago that Barbie managed to capture the middle ground between mom’s doll of choice, the sweet and historical American Dolls, and the new slutty Bratz dolls our daughters said they wanted. Suddenly, we worried less about Barbie’s unattainable figure.
For the last ten years, moms have been trying to hold the line on an increasingly aggressive push to sell our girls clothes, toys, and entertainment that are not age-appropriate. From padded training bras and thong underwear for tweens to hip-hop dance recitals where 7 year-olds gyrate to Beyonce’s “All the Single Ladies” (must see to believe). We are robbing our kids, and especially our girls, of the carefree fun and innocence of childhood.
So what’s the answer? Hold the line! Whether it’s a sexy pirate costume in the Halloween catalog, a pouty doll that looks like a hooker, or a Vampire movie your 11 year-old swears everyone else is watching – moms and dads are the last line of defense in an all-out assault on childhood. It’s our right and duty to just say no.