In the first blog post I had wrote about the criticism that Mattel’s Barbie, which has been around for more than 50 years, faces in terms of her aesthetics. The blog had asked whether Mattel’s Barbie was sending the wrong message to young girls about our sociocultural standards of beauty, and whether Barbie is portraying an unrealistic unattainable image of what is seen as the ideal beauty. Well the controversy of Mattel’s Barbie is striking back, but this time with the help of Sports Illustrated. Stuart Elliott, advertising columnist for the New York Times said, “Two familiar brands that have for decades been the targets of complaints about their depictions of women have joined forces for a promotional campaign that tells critics they are proudly “unapologetic” about who they are. The brands are Barbie, sold by Mattel, and the annual Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.” The “unapologetic” theme of the campaign was created around the 50th anniversary for the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. The anniversary issue is to come out next week, and it will portray a doll-size image of Barbie wearing the same black-and-white swimsuit she wore when she was brought into the market in 1959. Mattel gave a statement on Tuesday and said, “As a legend herself, and under constant criticism about her body and how she looks, posing in” the issue “gives Barbie and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are, celebrate what they have done and be #unapologetic.” The hashtag will be seen not only on the cover of Sports Illustrated, but will be located on a billboard in Times Square. Elliott explains in the article that the public is raising the same concerns that I had discussed in my first article about Barbie; he says: “The alliance of the two brands ignited an online debate on Tuesday over the images of both Barbie and the swimsuit issue. Mattel has long contended with complaints that Barbie, with her lithesome figure and focus on fashion, is not a positive role model for girls. At the same time, Sports Illustrated is no favorite of some critics who believe that the swimsuit issue objectifies women” (Elliott, 2014).
So what do you think; is Barbie and Sports Illustrated objectifying women and sending the wrong message to young girls?
Elliott, S. (2014, Feb 11). Barbie’s sports illustrated swimsuit issue causes a stir online. The New York Times. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/12/business/media/barbies-sports-illustrated-swimsuit-issue-causes-a-stir-online.html?ref=media&_r=0