It’s no surprise that Barbie, Mattel, Inc.’s trophy toy, has had her fair share of drama since her inception in the late ’50s. Along with the company’s often stereotypical and offensive branding, some of the doll’s many “professions” have raised eyebrows from time to time. More recently, the multi-billion dollar corporation has received flack from parents and privacy advocates for its “Hello Barbie” creation, an interactive doll that listens and uniquely responds to children. Psychological disorders. Failed attempts at greatness. Unplanned pregnancies. This chick has issues.
Pregnant Midge Barbie
You’ve heard of Barbie’s best friend Skipper, but she has a lesser best friend named Midge too. And in this nightmare incarnation of Midge, she’s pregnant People said Midge was too young too be pregnant and that the doll might encourage teen pregnancy.
Wash & Watch Barbie.
Not technically a type of Barbie, but this “Wash & Watch” set has incredibly disturbing implications. One being that she enjoys loading the dishwasher. Another — even weirder — that she likes emptying it. Worse yet is that she likes to watch.
The Birds Barbie.
This Barbie is getting attacked by a group of aggressive birds just like in Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” movie with violent scenes. “Terrifying birds gnawing away at a woman? Oh yes, two please,” said no one EVER.
The Oreo Barbie resulted from a partnership with Oreo cookies. But when Mattel released a black version of the doll, people quickly brought up the fact that Oreo can be a derogatory term for a black person who “acts white” (or is black on the outside and white on the inside, like an Oreo).
Computer Engineer Barbie
In one of her newest professions, Barbie decided to become a computer engineer! But in the book, she mostly just infects computers with viruses and can’t fix anything without the help of her male coworkers. The Internet saw fit to re-caption pages from the book and they turn her into the superior feminist hacker Barbie.
Slumber Party Barbie.
There’s nothing really controversial about Barbie having a slumber party, but there’s definitely something to say about her book which reads, “How To Lose Weight” in the front and “Don’t eat!” in the back. Oh, and a scale with “110” stamped on it.
Teen Talk Barbie
It’s bad enough that Teen Talk Barbie’s main phrases included, “Will we ever have enough clothes?” and “I love shopping!” but the American Association of University Women took personal offense to, “Math class is tough!” The reinforcement of stereotypes is very real here, folks.
Growing Up Skipper
Mattel took this into account when they released their Growing Up Skipper Barbie version, in 1975. The doll was featured as Barbie’s little sister. What stirred a majority of the controversy among parents was the fact that pubescent Skipper’s breasts grew when her arm was rotated to represent her growing from a young girl to a teenager. Mattel pulled this doll from the shelves and reintroduced her again in 1979, with a new image which featured smaller, permanent breasts.
When you pressed her back, she would kiss someone. Actually the whole thing was designed to make it seem like the Barbie was using her kisses as a tool to seduce people and get more self-confidence. We feel like this could definitely get really weird in some creep’s dark basement really, really fast…
Share a Smile Becky
You can’t win for losing and that is exactly what happened when Mattel released its first handicapped doll, Becky who was in a wheelchair. The only problem? A 17-year-old high school student realized Becky’s chair wouldn’t fit into the elevator at Barbie’s Dream House.
Barbie Forever and Tanner the Dog
Ah, yes. Barbie’s brief foray into professional dog walking. While the fact that Tanner the dog could eat his food and then “poop” it out (only for Barbie to pick up with her pooper scooper) probably didn’t make Barbie’s LinkedIn profile, it was the loose magnets in the scooper that became a choking hazard and forced Barbie Forever to be recalled.
Images source: scooplify.com