14 Of The Most Controversial Barbies Ever

Barbie Dolls are a favourite for many children across the world, especially in North America. With such an influential status in the marketplace and on the individual lives on the kids who love them, it is a curious thing how they get away with some of the concepts they produce.

Whether or not it is the original ‘Barbie’ brand, Mattel, or simply knockoffs and gags, the Barbie’s that are hitting the shelves, and the Internet, are proving to be quite controversial. These dolls are something that parents really need to think twice about, especially in a world that is trying so hard to rectify its wrongs in the way of racism, sexism, and every other ‘ism’ there is.

Without further adieu… the 14 worst Barbie’s ever made.

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14 The Bad Role Model Barbie


This Barbie is your typical Barbie. She is every single Barbie that has hit the shelves and she is a body image that many girls grow up wanting to attain… and attaining it is impossible.

In fact many people took a stand and created life size Barbie in her original dimensions to compare to real girls. After that, companies began to make ‘real girl’ Barbie's so that kids and parents could see the difference between the original Barbie and the true, attainable dimensions of a real life role model. The difference was shocking.

13 Cracker Barbie and Oreo Barbie 


It is obvious why this dynamic duo is so wrong. Not only was it a poor choice in sponsorship, it was made worse with the obvious lack of respect and empathy when cookie colour matching. “Oreo” is known by some as a derogatory term for a black person who acts white – black on the outside and white on the inside.’ And 'Cracker' is a derogatory term for a white person.

Need it also be pointed out that the cracker Barbie was only made a short 6 years ago?

Very disappointing.

12 The value-confused storekeeper


There have been entirely too many instances where this case has come up. On one hand, it is the consumers’ fault for making the white Barbie more popular and therefore increasing the demand for her, leaving the darker skinned Barbie with a greater supply. On the other hand, in a case like this and out of respect for the general public, the store-keeper should never have marked down a price. This is one instance where human rights and an anti-racism campaign should far outweigh economics.

Everyone should be ashamed of themselves for this one.

11 Pregnant Barbie


While pregnancy is a beautiful and natural thing, there are still a few things wrong with this picture. First, could it be possible that pregnant Barbie makes having a baby seem easy and fun for a young easily influenced audience that should not be considering it for years? And how old is Midge anyway? Second, it is extremely unrealistic that Barbie's stomach can spin from pregnant to flat only seconds after the ‘baby is born.’ In real life, it takes women years of hard work to get their ideal body back. This Barbie seems to be setting unrealistic expectations and making light of a life changing decision.

10 Stereotypical Barbie


Ever wonder where the kids are getting their first dose of stereotyping and racism? It may be in their home.

The Internet has cried racism on a line of Barbie's called “Dolls of the World.” These little collectors’ items scream stereotype and seem to have missed the mark on cultural sensitivity and a great teaching opportunity. The Mexican Barbie with her traditional fiesta dress and… Chihuahua, seems to have upset most people. Mattel defends itself by saying the other 99 travel dolls also have a pet in tow. Does China doll having a panda and Australian doll having a koala make it any better? It doesn’t seem to. While this may not be racism, it sure does scream stereotype and, unless used for cultural and historical education, may not be the best roll model for the world.

9 Wheelchair Barbie


It was nice of them to consider a beautiful Barbie to represent handicapable people complete with trendy outfit and purple wheel chair. For that they get props. However, the one thing they didn’t consider was her lifestyle. Wheelchair Barbie does not fit through the doorway of the Malibu dream house elevator. A sad realization that Mattel promised to fix.

8 Video Girl Barbie


Smile, you’re on camera. Video Barbie has a camera in her necklace that can record 30 minutes of video and audio and streams to a computer. This is all fun and games for a little boy or girl to create cute little home videos, but what of the people that want to abuse it? The FBI had it’s concerns about child pornography and the use of this inconspicuous doll. Who knows what kinds of things those creeps could do. There have been no recorded incidences but it is certainly something to keep in mind for parents.

Why do all the fun things have to be ruined by the terrible people?

7 Makeup Head Barbie


Just another reason for little girls to feel they are not pretty enough without makeup? It is obvious that they will be influenced by their ‘beautiful’ Barbie doll. The problem is not the toy but the age demographic that is using the toy. Girls are wearing makeup younger and younger because they feel they need to. Some girls as young as 6 and 7 years old are showing up to school with eyeliner and mascara. How will they ever learn the value of natural beauty if they never got to experience it and feel comfortable in their own skin.

6 Teen Talk Barbie


“Math class is tough”, “will we ever have enough clothes?” “I love shopping.” All phrases that you can look forward to your child learning from this ‘too cool for school’ Barbie doll. While Mattel took “Math class is tough” out of her repertoire, the message was still loud and clear – one must buy into consumerism and rebel against education, it’s the cool thing to do.

5 Slumber Party Barbie


While this Barbie is quite old, it is still baffling that she made it to shelves. Slumber Party Barbie comes with a complete sleepover kit including a scale and a book titled “How to Lose Weight.” Appearance is clearly so important to Barbie that she must partake in weight loss rituals with her friends instead of fun childlike activities like eating snacks and playing hide and seek. What’s worse? The scale is set to 110 lbs., which is extremely underweight for someone with her ‘real life’ stature.

4 Totally Tattoo Barbie


While parents opted to avoid “Tokidoki” Barbie, a Barbie who had real tattoos, they found themselves with a new set of problems. This playful and creative Barbie came with one major flaw… a temporary tattoo with Barbie’s ‘boyfriend’s’ name on it. Yes, encouraging young girls to tattoo boys names onto themselves, even temporarily, became quite the controversy. And the cherry on top? It came in the form of a ‘tramp stamp’. Great job Mattel, way to inspire independence and critical thinking.

3 Fulla


Barbie was banned in Saudi Arabia in 2013 and replaced with Fulla, a doll that more represented the Middle Eastern culture for women. While they man not seem like a horrible thing given their culture, the idea of them being banned and taking away human rights partially to blame... but that is a much larger political debate… and one that sparked the controversy in the first place.

2 Black Canary


Superheros are in. Men and women in tights and capes saving the world from all evil. But what does the Black Canary doll portray? Her kinky outfit and ‘trashy’ look was not a popular one with parents. Some called her a ‘streetwalker’ while others just considered her too racy for children’s minds and play time.

In the end it is just a doll that portrays a popular super-hero. Maybe it is DC that people should be angry at? Just a thought.

1 Sports Illustrated Barbie


“Unapologetic” is the theme of this. Plastered on the cover of the 50th anniversary edition of Sports Illustrated, Barbie sports a swimsuit and a pose that says, “I deserve to be here.” Barbie has been put through the ringer a few times and, as this list shows, has been criticized time and time again, and this is Mattel’s way of saying they are still kicking.

People seem to be mostly upset because it is a stance that undermines all of the controversy over the years. People may be taking it too seriously though. She is an icon of the centuries and she is in a full one-piece bathing suit… not even a bikini.


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