-Alison Bowerman, staff
On October 13, tokidoki Barbie was released. The doll is styled with short pink hair and tattoos covering her arms, neck and chest. Since her debut, there has been controversy about the doll’s effect on young girls. After 7,400 dolls sold, the tokidoki Barbie is currently sold out.
However, Barbie is not new to controversy. The doll has previously been criticized because of her unrealistic body measurements. The University of Australia found that 1 in 100,000 women have a similar body type to Barbie. Mattel has subsequently created multicultural Barbie dolls, but even those dolls have the exact same body proportions as Barbie.
Sociology professor at Laurier Brantford, Alex Ferentzy says, “I don’t think of it as terribly shocking or strange.” She adds that , “it may offend some parents’ sense of sensibility.”
Barbie no doubt sends a problematic message to children. Her body measurements are nearly impossible to achieve and a real woman with Barbie’s BMI wouldn’t be able to menstruate.
In 2009, Barbie turned 50. Yet, her breasts have remained perky, her hair has remained blonde and her face is wrinkle-free.
Barbie is impractical for so many reasons and, since so many of her characteristics are uncommon, I think it’s actually refreshing to see a Barbie that looks more like people we see on the street. Sure, pink hair and tattoos may not be the majority but it is certainly more common than finding a fountain of youth. It’s also a lot more achievable than going under the knife to change your appearance.
The tokidoki Barbie has been so controversial because she challenges the status quo. This is one of the first dolls we have seen sporting this look. It makes parents uncomfortable that their children are not playing with the same childhood doll the parents adored.
It seems like there are far more issues with Barbie’s effect on a child’s self esteem than her influence over their decision to dye their hair or tattoo their bodies. Perhaps, we should have short dolls, tall dolls, culturally diverse dolls, dolls with small busts and differing shapes alongside the tokidoki doll.