One could successfully describe Barbie as a timeless toy. She has managed to skip through each generation with ease and grace. Since the world’s introduction to the first Barbie in 1959, the creator Ruth Handler has been trying to appeal to the masses. She has been trying to make Barbie seem like a doll that can have it all. Impress all and better yet, represent just females. In her attempt to do this, she has also managed to offend some human rights groups. The type of groups who will march outside of your place of business yelling obscenities and trashing your life’s work. Still, she rises and continues on to make dolls that little girls around the world will probably never get sick of. Being an owner of a Barbie or two in life, we would have to assume that Handler did not expect her dolls to be such a topic of conversation. It’s as if she assumed the 50s would never end and women would always want to give their daughters dolls that represented domesticity. In addition to doing nothing for women’s rights. Seems as though Handler took too long to move with the times and it ended up backfiring in her face. Even though we now have Barbies that are doctors and lawyers Mattel it still struggling with so much more. For example, the unrealistic body proportions of their dolls, the lack of enough cultural representation and of course, that fact that there is always a Ken for a Barbie.
10. Slumber Party Barbie
In 1965 a new Barbie hit the shelves. Of course, she was blonde, slim and desirable. Slumber party Barbie was meant to connect with young girls through the popular act of having sleepovers. Only this Barbie wasn’t like normal, young girls who have sleepover parties. In fact, she was downright offensive. Every Barbie comes with an accessory and this one was no different, her accessory was a scale, pink of course. The dial was set at 110 pounds. You see, it wasn’t advanced enough to actually move if the child put Barbie to stand on it. Maybe that was done on purpose? Subliminal messages were and still are a huge thing. In addition, Barbie was meant to be 5’9 so 110 pounds was a solid 35-40 pounds underweight for someone of this stature. Why in the world would Handler do something like this? Or at least approve something like this? It’s not only crazy but it’s ridiculous. Society wonders why women have body image issues. With examples like Barbie and people like Handler approving the most foolish of concepts, how can they not? Really? A scale stuck at 110 pounds? it’s as if they are saying no matter your height 110 pounds is the golden number.
9. Growing Up Skipper
Growing Up Skipper is just how it sounds. Barbie’s younger sister was growing into a woman. The creators of Barbie saw fit to document that whatever way they could. Only, the way they documented it was… a little too shall we say extra? When a young child turned Skipper’s arm her chest grew to a noticeable extent and she grew about a ½ inch taller. Let’s be honest, no one cared about the fact that she got taller. Everyone just wanted to see the magic of her chest developing before their eyes. We can only assume that every pre-teen boy was always stealing this particular doll from their sister. To make matters worse, the slogan that came attached to this doll was; “2 dolls in 1 for twice as much fun!”. They also added a little more of an incentive by saying; “grow from a young girl to a teenager”. As if we didn’t understand the first slogan. Mattel advertised this doll on As Seen On TV and they did just about everything to make sure that everyone knew her body was going to change. The advertisement also read, “grows as her figure matures”. They even gave her a more grown-up scarf because scarves really determine how old someone is.
8. Totally Tattoo Barbie
There is no question that tattoos have become a staple in society. This art that was once something that people looked down upon. Or normally associated with “bad people”. So when Barbie was down with tattoo the world instantly knew that they too could accept the tattoo riddled people of society. Yet again though, Mattel managed to screw this one up as well. They advertised this Barbie with a tramp stamp. Would you believe that she had Ken’s name tattooed on her lower back encased in a heart? First of all, how cliche, second, come on Mattel you can do better than that. Anything is better than a man’s name. Especially seeing as you are marketing to little girls. So are you saying that these little girls should brand themselves with a man’s name? Barbie came with a bunch of temporary tattoos all of them better than the one that was pre-set on her plastic body. So why choose that one? Maybe the creators of this brilliant idea were trying to appeal to young girls. That being said, when you truly think about it, what do young girl (young enough to want a Barbie that is) know about tattoos? Maybe this concept was way too advanced for their audience.
7. Video Girl Barbie
We knew it would come to this one day. Video girls are such a prominent thing in society so why would we not be graced with a Barbie mockup? Video girls are associated with scantily clad clothing, explicit dance moves and showing off assets so again we have to ask, what was the point here? The one cool thing about this Barbie was that she came with a real working video camera in her chest. This was something that upset the higher ups and by the higher-ups, we mean the FBI. They were concerned that the camera would be used to create inappropriate videos by children. They were even more worried that children would be able to be taken advantage of by the high tech equipment provided to them. So, just like that, Video Girl Barbie was swept off the shelves. We can only assume anyone who was lucky enough to snatch one of these babies up will soon be able to sell her for a pretty penny. Video Girl Barbie was accused of being inappropriate on all levels and can you truly blame them? If the creators had played it smart and named her something less popular like dancing Barbie they may have been able to make money off of her.
6. Mexican Barbie
It seems like no matter what Mattel tries to do, they will never do it right. Especially when it comes to representing race. For their “Dolls of the World” collection they created Mexican Barbie. However, we have to ask whose version of Mexican? Mattel dressed up Mexican Barbie in a fiesta dress. Her accessories were a pink passport and a freaking chihuahua. Last time we checked a chihuahua was not a dog that was bred in Mexico it only takes it name from the state chihuahua. So sticking this on to Mexican Barbie was the first offence. The second offence was her entire stereotypical persona. We can only assume that they just assumed every Taco Bell commercial was right because they make tacos so they should know. Thankfully, the company caught a lot of flack for this… should we even call it a Barbie? Anyway, they caught a lot of flack and they ended up pulling her off the shelves. When she came back her outfit was a Mariachi outfit and she no longer had that useless dog. No word on the passport but it was the least offensive thing about her entire outfit. And let’s be honest, that says a lot.
5. Rappin’ Rockin’ Barbie
More like mid-life crisis Barbie. Whoever at Mattel came up with this idea was crazy. First of all, it’s low-key offensive the blatant cultural appropriation. The box boasts a “real rap beat boom box!”, the caption on the box say’s “Yo!”. Second, her outfit is absolutely ridiculous. She is decked out in all leather, a backward hat, a GOLD CHAIN, big hoop earrings and a large gold ring. This is blatant cultural appropriation. We would love to hear this real rap beat that supposedly comes out of this plastic, pink boombox. It is probably the coolest thing about this Barbie. She surprisingly was not pulled off the shelves but that is a matter of circumstances. We are almost 100 percent sure that if a Barbie such as this one popped up today there would be an uproar. A rightful uproar. The least they could have done if we are being honest is make her African-American. Upon further research, it was revealed to us that it wasn’t only Barbie was rappin’ and rockin’. It was also Christie, Ken and Teresa because every good rapper needs a crew, right? Watch the commercial for yourself it’s a delight Barbie and her crew dance and you get to hear that crappy “real rap beat”.
4. Share A Smile Becky
We commend Handler and Mattel for making a doll that represents a group of people who are often forgotten about. It’s noble especially because the likeability of the doll will be limited as will the sales. One can even go as far as to say it’s a niche market. Unfortunately for Mattel, they messed up big time. Share A Smile Becky was meant to promote inclusivity and the company was groundbreaking as the first of their kind to make a doll with a wheelchair. Unfortunately, a young girl by the name of Kiersti Johnson realized that Becky’s wheelchair couldn’t fit in the elevator of the doll’s dream house. Okay what in the world is going on here? The least they could have done was gotten that right. In the real world people in wheelchairs deal with stuff like that on a daily basis. Why would they have to deal with it when it comes to their toys as well? We will hand it to Mattel, once it was reported, they pulled the doll off the shelves and replaced her home with a better elevator, one she can actually fit in. In fact, they have since then made two more successful versions of this doll.
3. Hello Barbie
In 2015, yes 2015, 3 years ago 2015 Mattel kept up their shady behavior. They released a doll called Hello Barbie. What was her purpose? She looked exactly like a regular Barbie but one that doesn’t have a theme and does nothing impeccable. Her main function was that kids could record themselves saying Hello and maybe even saying their name. For what reason though? This whole scenario is suspicious and everyone should be questioning why they continue to buy their kids Barbie when there are so many other dolls that can actually be role models. It’s pretty ridiculous and since the release of the Barbie, people have been questioning what the purpose of it was. Yet, they are still buying Hello Barbie for their kids. The Barbie has been questioned over concerns about children’s privacy. Rightfully so. What are they really doing with all those recordings of children saying ‘hello’? It looks real suspect and the fact that they are doing this in 2015 and are currently still doing it really has us wondering about a few things. What we would really like to know is why this Barbie wasn’t pulled off the shelf. Or maybe even get the FBI involved? Then again, they could be the ones collecting the data.
2. Sun Gold Barbie
Sun Gold Barbie hit the scene in 1983 with her husband Ken, her sister Skipper and her friend P.J. The look of this Barbie was controversial she was bleach blond and her skin was a shade of orange that no one should be proud of. Mattel and Handler were basically promoting wrinkly skin and glorifying sun exposure. Which in the 80s wasn’t a bad thing. Well, let’s rephrase that, they didn’t know it was a bad thing. However, how or why would they think that orange skin ever looked good? Essentially Sun Gold Barbie was teaching young girls that it was okay and totally safe to sit out in the sun all day and tan. Just until you reached that perfect shade of orange that is. It was promoting the idea that the faker you look the more alluring you would be to society. The fact that they had not only Barbie but her man, her sister and even one of her friends meant that they were really trying to appeal themselves to a bunch of girls at different ages. And to young men. Thankfully, we all know better now. This Barbie was never pulled off the shelves but it should have been.
1. Cat Burglar Barbie
This is what happens when you let a high-end designer that knows nothing about dolls create a doll. Barbie was meant to represent young girls play a role model in their lives. So, it’s safe to say that Cat Burglar Barbie is not the kind of role model that little girls need. However, tell that to Christian Louboutin because they thought it was a wonderful idea. This Barbie hit the market in 1999 decked out in a leather one-piece cat burglar suit. She came with a bunch of shoe accessories which keep in mind would be useless to a real cat burglar. It was a limited edition Barbie so again, no chance of her being pulled off the shelves because of a little bit of controversy. Cat Burglar Barbie supposedly sold for well over $100 which deemed her completely useless. No parent in their right mind was going to buy this Barbie and actually let their kid play with it. This was probably the closest to a pair of Louboutin that many of these moms got to. The reasons are obvious why this Barbie was controversial but let’s also look at the fact that she came with no real cat burglar equipment. How did she plan on breaking in anywhere? This would not be a successful heist.