A&C News

Barbie Gets Tattoos, Maintains Biologically Unlikely Proportions

If you think that what happens in popular culture might have broader societal implications, maybe something more to it than fluff and distraction, we invite you to consider the conversation around Mattel’s new Harajuku theme Barbie. If not, well, carry on then.

She’s got a pink bob, an edgy outfit designed by Tokidoki, and here’s the clincher — this Barbie has tattoos. This is a source of consternation for some moms, as Salon’s Mary Elizabeth Williams points out, but Barbie’s corporate sponsor was ready with a comeback, claiming she’s not necessarily targeted to the newly post-pacifier demographic.

However radical her inky incarnation may appear, though, we’re still looking at the basic Barbie prototype, who not only comes with precious accessories but also the usual baggage — she’s still emblematic of some problematic beauty norms that don’t seem to change much, no matter how often her outfits might. –KA


But Barbie’s never just been the darling of the pre-teen set. From the day she moved into her first dream house, she’s been irresistible to just about everybody. In a statement, Mattel acknowledged that the $50 tootsie “is a perfect example of a limited-edition doll sold through select retail locations” for “for the adult doll collector.” And as a parent on Babble noted, “I think the pink hair and tattoos are fine. The objectionable things about Barbie are the tiny feet and gigantic fake boobs.”

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