Girl Scout Barbie Stirs Controversy
Once again, the pint sized blonde they call Barbie is ruffling feathers and making headlines. Mattel, the makers of Barbie recently teamed up with Girl Scouts of America to create a new Girl Scout Barbie. But the release of the new doll has people speaking out against the Girl Scouts, claiming that is does not portray a positive image for young girls. Critics of the new doll claim that Barbie is considered "too sexy", and that her unrealistic hourglass figure could make young girls feel insecure. This comes after a widely publicized campaign this past February where Barbie premiered as the cover model for Sports Illustrated, and showed off her traditional black and white bathing suit that she donned in the early 1950's. The magazine portrayed as the ultimate woman and celebrated her symbol as an American icon. Now, another American brand, the Girl Scouts has decided to celebrate her historical mark on society by creating a doll with the Girl Scout brand. Unfortunately, the decision has not been as well received as the company hoped, and critics worldwide are lined up in droves ready to tear the doll to shreds.
The doll comes complete with the traditional Girl Scout sash, hat, uniform patch and a tote with the words "Goal Setting, Decision Making, Money Management, People Skills, Business Ethics"; seemingly good motivational accessories for young kids. The doll represents the thousands of young girls who go out and sell cookies across the country every year and bring in millions of dollars for their organization. Because the Barbie brand has enjoyed such popularity for so many years, it seemed like a no -brainer for a company that sells to young girls to create something related to a movement that is so closely associated with their daily lives. The addition of the tote with inspirational phrases falls in line with the Girl Scout theme of encouraging young girls to remain positive and work towards achieving success and independent living.
Critics of the new doll cite research that claims that Barbie creates a false sense of reality and results in a negative body image or self esteem issues. Their criticism stems from the bevy of Barbies who don bikinis and outfits that accentuate her breasts and hips. The fact that the Girl Scout Barbie is wearing high heel booties adds to the argument that the doll is too sexy for young girls, and would promote an increase in their desire to be sexy. "Barbie is basically a terrible role model for girls, and she's not about what the Girl Scouts' principles are, which have to do with leadership and courage," said Susan Linn, a psychologist and director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Linn says that the doll "sexualizes young girls", and undermines the Girl Scouts' mission of building up girls' confidence, courage,and character. The Girl Scouts however, feel as though the doll stands out as a trailblazer and combines fun with opportunities for advancement and courageous lifestyles. Although there is controversy about the symbolism of Barbie's sexiness, Mattel has backed their brand by reminding the public that there have been tons of different Barbie dolls made that represent all different types of women. Over the years, Barbie has been an astronaut, a banker, a supermodel, a rock star, a baker, and an educator. Her track record shows that you can have big blonde hair, an hourglass figure, a hot boyfriend, and still have your dream job. Barbie essentially has a more perfect life than Kelly Ripa, and the masses do not appreciate her flaunting her fabulous lifestyle.
Is Barbie too perfect? Maybe so. But she is, afterall make believe. Can we really blame a doll for the destruction of our girls' self esteem? Or should focus more on images set forth by women like Nicki Minaj and Beyonce who ooze sex appeal and have little girls flocking to their concerts singing raunchy, over sexualized song lyrics? Just who do we blame for this overarching issue? Is the Girl Scouts' organization to blame for feeding into the stereotype...