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Thursday, March 6th, 2014
Girls who play with Barbie dolls–as opposed to Mrs. Potato Head doll–may see fewer career options for themselves in the future, according to an experiment that has been published in the journal Sex Roles.
Thirty-seven girls from the US Pacific Northwest, aged between four to seven years old, were randomly assigned to play for five minutes with either a sexualized Doctor Barbie or Fashion Barbie doll, or with more a more neutral Mrs. Potato Head doll, according to a statement describing the study. The girls were then shown photographs of ten occupations and asked how many they themselves or boys could do in the future.
The girls who played with a Barbie doll – irrespective of whether it was dressed as a fashion model or a doctor – saw themselves in fewer occupations than are possible for boys. Those girls who played with Mrs. Potato Head reported nearly as many career options available for themselves as for boys.
“Perhaps Barbie can ‘Be Anything’ as the advertising for this doll suggests, but girls who play with her may not apply these possibilities to themselves,” said researcher Aurora Sherman of Oregon State University, who suggests that Barbie and similar dolls are part of the burden of early and inappropriate sexuality placed on girls. “Something about the type of doll, not characteristics of the participants, causes the difference in career aspirations.”
Image: Girl, via Shutterstock
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Friday, May 17th, 2013
Feminists in Germany are organizing protests around the opening of a life-sized Barbie-themed house in Berlin, citing gender stereotypes that often follow the famous doll. In February, the first ever Barbie-themed restaurant opened in Taipei, Taiwan, to fanfare and excitement, a very different experience from the Berlin property. More from CNN.com:
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Left-wing feminists are protesting the Barbie Dreamhouse Experience — a 27,000-square-foot lifesized pink estate — opening in Berlin on May 16.
Located off the shopping district of Alexanderplatz, the Berlin Dreamhouse is meant to show off Barbie’s Malibu lifestyle.
The pink mansion is full of rooms showcasing how her makeup, kitchen and wardrobe are put together.
In addition to viewing 350 Barbie dolls and other displays, visitors can strut a long runway, “bake” virtual cupcakes in a pink kitchen or eat real ones in the cafe. And, of course, shell out for dolls and products in the gift shop.
Protestors from the Left Party are up in arms over the sexism and shallow materialism that they argue Barbie symbolizes.
“They present an image of cooking, primping and singing, as if it were in some way life-fulfilling,” Socialist Alternative editor Michael Koschitzki, 27, told German newspaper Der Spiegel.
“The Barbie Dreamhouse is the expression of a conventional role model that isn’t OK,” he said.
Barbie has long been a subject of controversy — with criticisms ranging from sexism to racism to creating body image issues for girls.
Friday, February 1st, 2013
Taipei, Taiwan is now home to the first-ever Barbie-themed restaurant, complete with stiletto-shaped bar stools, tiaras galore, and tutu-clad waitresses. The city is already home to a Hello Kitty cafe, but the Barbie restaurant is likely to raise the eyebrows of American parents who are not fans of the body image message Barbie sends to girls.
More from CNN.com:
Licensed by U.S. toymaker Mattel, Taiwan restaurant company Sinlaku on Wednesday opened the Barbie Café on Zhongxiao road, one of the busiest shopping districts in the capital, Taipei.
The café’s decoration, costing TW$50 million (US$1.7 million), is mostly in suitably Barbie-style magenta and pink.
The furniture couldn’t be more princess-y — bar tables look like the heel of a stiletto, chair backs resemble bustiers (some with a tutu) and chandeliers are shaped like elegant teapots and teacups with saucers. Barbie dolls and logos adorn walls and tabletops.
The restaurant also has a gigantic Barbie box allowing customers to step in and feel like a packaged up, life-size Barbie.
Waitresses wear tutus and tiaras while their male counterparts try, mostly in vain, to look like Ken, Barbie’s on-off squeeze.
Barbie’s abnormally, and anatomically-challenging, slim figure may diminish some appetites. With that in mind, the restaurant menu has been designed by professional nutritionists, local media reported (Chinese). There’s a calorie chart on the first page of the menu, with calorie data listed alongside each item.
Image: Barbie-style pink sofa, via Shutterstock
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Monday, April 2nd, 2012
In response to a Facebook campaign that garnered more than 150,000 supporters, the toymaker Mattel has announced it will make a bald doll as part of the Barbie franchise to offer support for children who are either going through cancer treatment or living with a condition that causes them to lose their hair.
On its Facebook page, Mattel announced that the doll will be released next year directly to children’s hospitals, but not to the public:
Play is vital for children, especially during difficult times. We are pleased to share with our community that next year we will be producing a fashion doll, that will be a friend of Barbie, which will include wigs, hats, scarves and other fashion accessories to provide girls with a traditional fashion play experience. For those girls who choose, the wigs and head coverings can be interchanged or completely removed. We will work with our longstanding partner, the Children’s Hospital Association, to donate and distribute the dolls exclusively to children’s hospitals directly reaching girls who are most affected by hair loss. A limited number of dolls and monetary donations will also be made to CureSearch for Children’s Cancer and the National Alopecia Areata Foundation.
The group that petitioned Mattel also is collecting signatures to urge toymaker Hasbro to create a bald GI Joe doll.
Image: Mattel logo, via http://logos.wikia.com/
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Thursday, October 20th, 2011
A new Barbie doll that is being marketed as a collector’s item–with a $50 pricetag to match–is sparking discussion across the blogosphere because the doll has permanent tattoos.
The doll is made by Mattel and sold by tokidoki, a Japanese-inspired brand that makes fashion accessories, vinyl toys, watches, makeup, and skateboards. In addition to the doll itself, tokidoki sells Barbie-inspired apparel featuring the iconic dolls with small tattoos on her neck.
Mattel insists that the doll is a limited-edition specialty item for adult Barbie collectors, and it is not being marketed to children. But parents have mixed opinions on the matter. From The Huffington Post:
Some parents aren’t too thrilled about tokidoki Barbie, stating the doll’s fashion sense and upper body tattoos set a bad example for young children.
“If I give it to [my daughter] she will think [tattoos are] okay. She may want to go get some,” Virginia resident Bill Smith told ABC 13 News.
“It’s teaching kids to want tattoos before they are old enough to dress like that,” Virginia resident Kevin Buckner also told the station.
However, others are pointing out that Barbie’s new look is better than the alternative.
“I much prefer tattoos to unrealistic proportions and the message that the most important thing is to be pretty and get a boy. Good for you Mattel for making a doll a little more like the rest of us. I consider it a tiny step in the right direction,” stated a comment featured on Babble blog, ‘Strollerderby.’
(image via: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/)
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