Opinion | Sexuality

Tattooed Barbie: You've Come a Long Way!

Barbie is art imitating life (and vice-versa).

A new limited-edition Barbie is raising eyebrows with her punky pink bob and smattering of tattoos. Barbie has had tattoos before, but those were of the temporary butterfly variety and thus decidedly less hardcore. The mild uproar this doll has incurred is to be expected, I suppose. But the objections are unsatisfying on several fronts.

For one thing, the doll is for adult collectors and is apparently not available at toy stores, which mitigates concerns about the doll becoming a role model for children (although this raises some different questions about adults who collect Barbie dolls—but that's another issue entirely). Besides, Barbie being Barbie, a Tattoo Barbie makes more sense than, say, a stiletto-wearing Church Barbie.

Furthermore, the question—if not the conclusion—of Barbie's sway as a role model for girls is a given, particularly when it comes to body image. Regardless of whether one grants Barbie a great deal of power in shaping a girl's self-image or a negligible ...

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