Barbie is back and boy is she causing controversy – this time though there are no discussions about her proportions and stick thin frame. This time the argument is that she is allegedly dressed even more like a “$5 hooker” than usual and has pink hair and tattoos! Finally, Barbie is embracing the 21st century of alternative fashion and lifestyle.
Personally just looking at the picture I adore her – however I come from a household of tattooed and pierced peers and where at the age of 5 or 6 afternoons were often spent in tattoo shops watching my parents or close friends being tattooed; in some cases watching my uncle tattoo them. Of course I got the transfers which were equally as cool.
So, let’s get down to business on this. This particular Barbie is a limited edition collaboration between the toy brand Mattel and the Italian brand Tokidoki (the very same company that sells the absolute adorable cosmetics with punk/anime packaging). This piece is targeted at collectors not six-year-olds to play with; so all these oh-so-wholesome parents who are freaking out can just calm their heels and stop claiming they will have to “shield their children’s eyes” when wandering down the doll aisle at the toy shop.
However, even that comment annoys me. It brings me to a question – what is so wrong with Barbie having tattoos anyway? This isn’t the first tattooed Barbie Mattel have made – two (ish) years ago they brought to children a “Totally Stylin’ Barbie” (see above) which came with it’s own “tattoo machine” and even transfers for it’s tiny owners to have on their own skin. Parents pulled out hair then, and I didn’t understand it.
Well, we shall go over the points that the parents have raised about this new Barbie doll.
As you can see by the picture, Barbie is sporting the very best scene/emo/goth/alternative fashion – allegedly this means she looks like a $5 hooker (I’m unsure where that quote has come from, though it is attached to everything to do with this doll….) I have never known Barbie to NOT look like said $5 hooker – usually she wears short dresses and skirts with lace tights and tops that literally cling to her plastic mountains…I mean curves. Add to all this she very rarely wears under-pants and the only bra’s she see’s are bikini tops for beachwear!
The second issue is with the tattoos and pink hair – parents are claiming that this will make children want to go out and dye their hair and get tattooed (I’m pretty sure most already DO want to do that, even as a passing phase, but oh well). Working on that theory; they didn’t freak out over new-mom Barbie and never questioned baby Shelly – surely, if tattooed Barbie will make kids want tattoos then pregnant/new-mom Barbie made them want to go out and get pregnant? It didn’t and most of the kids were confused by the swing-around belly (but that is another story).
Most of my friends (with myself included) actually cut our normal Barbie’s hair and draw on them with pens to give them “tattoos”, more recently my friends daughter went as far as to stick gems on her large “design me” Barbie head – she now has nose piercings, lip piercing and cheek piercings (shock horror! It looks cute actually) while kids today are still editing their NORMAL Barbie’s to be more “realistic” in the eyes of fashion and lifestyles (said friend’s 8 year old daughter is convinced that Barbie doesn’t date Ken… she dates Cindy. Ken was apparently just a sperm donor to get Shelly!)
When did tattoos become a symbol of immorality? Just because a person has tattoos (either one or one hundred) it does not mean they have committed any crime or have the morals of an alley cat. More over… when the hell did society start taking the design of an 11.5 inch tall piece of plastic so seriously? IT IS A DOLL. A doll for collectors of the toy; it is not a play thing.
To be honest – I don’t really think there were really THAT many completely and truly “outraged” parents at the doll. I think most of it is probably just “go with the flow” in which case why make an issue at all – it’s only an issue if you make it one, and let’s be totally honest; is it REALLY that much of an issue in the bigger picture of world events and toys? No, I didn’t think so.
Kids will want tattoos and then they won’t and then they will, and when they grow up it will be their choice anyway. In a world that recognises tattoos as a part of fashion (sadly – personally I think they are part of a lifestyle choice – fashions change too fast) and a growing trend amongst older teens/young adults. It is something I think Mattell have embraced so well – this IS the 21st Century, and times are moving on.
So I pose this question to my readers; would YOU buy a tattooed Barbie for your children? What do you think of this new collectors item or the previous tattoo Barbie?