Consumer Nation

Tattooed Barbie Sparks Controversy, Media Frenzy

Barbie Tattoo
Source: Mattel

It’s time to cue the Barbie outrage.

Let’s face it, Barbie likes buzz and she’s gotten herself into anothermedia frenzyjust in time for the holidays.

Mattel has released a Barbie doll designed by Tokidoki, a Japanese-inspired lifestyle brand, and it is stirring up a controversy because the doll, which sports a pale pink bob, is covered with tattoos on her neck and shoulders.

No doubt, there are plenty of people who will object to the doll, but this is not a mainstream Barbie product intended for young girls. The $50 doll is being marketed to adult collectors. Only 7,400 were made and, according to the Tokidoki Website, they are all sold out.

The doll is Mattel’s latest in a series of dolls it has done with designers over the years. Other examples on the Barbie Collector website include the Countess Dracula doll designed by Bob Mackie, the Bob Mackie Circus dolland a Barbie dressed in a catsuit designed by Christian Louboutin. These designer dolls sell for $150 each.

Tattoo Barbie
Source: Mattel

It also isn’t the first time "Barbie" and "tattoo" have been uttered in the same breath.

In 2009, Mattel released Totally Stylin’ Tattoos Barbie, which came with small tattoo stickers that children could place on the doll. (The dolls are still available on Amazon.) There also was collaboration with Harley Davidson in 2008, where Barbie wound up with a giant pair of wings tattooed on her back.

To be sure, Barbie doesn't need a tattoo to stir up controversy. Some feel the Barbie doll itself is controversial because her unrealistic body proportions set a bad example for young girls. Beyond that, however, there have been other examples of controversial dolls.

For example, the Barbie Collector website once offered the Silkstoe Lingerie Barbie, which wore a black bra, panties, and garter belts. The doll isn’t available on the Mattel website anymore, but it can be found on Amazon.

And last year, Barbie Video Girl, a Barbie doll with a pinhole video camera in its chest, prompted the Federal Bureau of Investigation to pass around a memo warning that the doll could be used as a tool by pedophiles (there were never any reports of it actually happening).

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