For 2014, Barbie will be rocking business attire.
According to the Barbie website, “Barbie is once again breaking through plastic ceilings and inspiring girls to follow their dreams,” announcing the career doll of the year as Entrepreneur Barbie.
The Barbie website also claims that she broke through the “plastic ceiling” back in the 1960s when she worked as an astronaut, four years before Neil Armstrong did.
Even though Mattel says Barbie has been an inspiration for strong, independent women since the 1960s, there has been controversy surrounding this claim for years.
Here is some recent criticism:
- In 1992, according to The New York Times, Teen Talk Barbie could utter the phrase, “math class is tough,” and was highly criticized by The American Association of University Women. Mattel offered to replace any of the dolls that could say that phrase.
- In 1997, Oreo Barbie was released with a partnership with Nabisco. According to The Daily Beast, Mattel made black and white Oreo Barbies, holding Oreos and wearing Oreo swag, but critics took the phrase ‘Oreo’ to mean “a black person who acts white.” The doll was recalled.
- In 2009, the BBC generated what a real life model of Barbie would look like in honor of Barbie’s 50th birthday. They used a real life model and applied Barbie’s proportions to her and determined that she would be 7-foot-six and have a 28-inch waist.
- In 2009, according to CNN, Mattel released black Barbies which had “fuller lips, curlier hair and other features that the company says more accurately represent African-American women.” Some critics said this Barbie was “not black enough.” Mattel started selling black Barbie in 1980, according to The Daily Mail.
- In 2014, according to CNN, Barbie found herself in another controversy over the fact that she would appear on the 50th anniversary swimsuit edition.
The Barbie website says she has had more than 150 different careers over the years.
Mattel describes Barbie’s new fashion in their products’ deals on their “shop page:”
“Barbie Entrepreneur doll wears a sophisticated dress in signature pink that features modern color blocking and a sleek silhouette. Her “smartphone,” tablet and briefcase are always by her side. And luxe details, like a glam necklace, cool clutch and elegant hairstyle, are awesome extras for a smart, stylish career woman. Includes dressed-for-business Barbie doll and stylish accessories: clutch, briefcase, tablet, and smartphone.”
TIME Magazine reported that Barbie is getting a LinkedIn page and a billboard in Times Square that will read, “If you can dream it you can do it” with the hashtag #unapologetic.
TIME also said Barbie is crediting her “Chief Inspirational Officers” for her new persona.
On Barbie’s website, there are photos of these officers, who are real women entrepreneurs, and it includes small descriptions of each of them.
Barbie is also on Twitter, hosting chats with herself and her “CIOs.”
But despite Barbie’s new job, according to a recent study at Oregon State University in March, researchers found that “girls who play with Barbie dolls see fewer career options for themselves than for boys.”
Time will tell if “entrepreneur Barbie” changes these results.Megan Turchi can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her @meganturchi