Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rock On, Barbie...You've Got Tats?

For a 52 year-old chick, Barbie has a helluva knack for reinvention.

Ruth Handler, co-founder of Mattel, was inspired to both name and create the three-dimensional fashion doll in 1959 after watching her own daughter, Barbara, play with paper dolls.  Her first outfits were the iconic black and white bathing suit with hair in the classic ponytail.  In the 1960's her styles morphed through the Camelot and then Flower Power years.  Is it a coincidence that she gained bendable legs during the Age of Aquarius?

During the 1970's, Barbie had a resculpted face and constantly changing wardrobe and hairstyles that swung from Mod to High Fashion.  The fitness craze and career woman phase in the 1980's gave her leggings and a credit card.  The first Barbie doll convention took place during this decade as adults became avid collectors.  Girls can now use their computers to design and print Barbie fashions.

But things haven't been all glamour for our wasp-waisted, outsized plastic boobs American classic.  She's long been criticized by womens' groups for her unrealistic body image.  And now, Barbie is sporting pink punk hair and tattoos.  Parents are in an uproar.  The streets run red with the blood of outraged rioters, crying for the downfall of an "overly-sexualized, inappropriate" doll.

Get a grip, people.  The Tokidoki Barbie is a collector doll, intended for adult collectors.  She sports dyed pink hair, rock fashionista clothing and tattoos on her chest, neck, arm and back.  Critics who self-righteously rail against the doll as a way to 'play on young girls' natural desire to appear older' are missing the point.  The doll was produced in limited quantities for collectors.  Sure, you can still plunk down a cool $378 from a seller on Amazon to procure one, but it was never marketed or intended as a way to foist prostitution as a viable occupation for young girls.

And since when is a plastic doll a role model?  Why not a pregnant, pro-life Barbie? Where is Jihad Barbie?  How about Divorced Barbie...she'd cost twice as much, but would come with Ken's house and car. If this Barbie is 'overly-sexualized' because she has tattoos and pink hair, why is it okay for her to wear bikinis and gowns with plunging necklines?

Personally, I'd be a lot more concerned about the fact that Tattooed Barbie has a small dog in a cactus suit named "Bastardino".  Now THAT is something to worry about!


Connie J Jasperson said...

Ain't it the truth! That is definitely an unfortunate choice of name for the strange little pooch!

Lisa Zhang Wharton said...

Love the Barbie picture. Now I'm inspired to write about the Harry Potter toe socks I had and gave away unwillingly to my son's friend after sitting around and being ignored for 10 years.

jenny milchman said...

Just today someone sent me a great link--Barbie at 50. She was heavyset and oh so human :)

Kathleen Barker said...

I'd love to see that....