This year neither Kate Upton, nor Brooklyn Decker, nor any other living woman landed the 2014 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover. That “honor” went to Barbie. The 55-year-old doll.
The makers of Barbie, Mattel, wanted to celebrate “the doll that started it all.”
“As a legend herself, and under constant criticism about her body and how she looks, posing . . . gives Barbie . . . and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are,” said Lisa McKnight, Mattel’s senior vice president of marketing.
The campaign is a departure for the 55-year old doll, which has been both beloved as a plaything and criticized as an unrealistic standard of beauty for decades.
In fact, Barbie has faced scrutiny for everything from her chiseled facial features and disproportionately small waist to her “life choices.” And last year, an artist renewed controversy over Barbie’s effect on body image after an artist posted pictures of the more meaty physique the doll would have if she had the figure of an average 19-year-old.
And with this latest move, Mattel shouldn’t expect the critics to silence anytime soon. In fact, outrage over the move hit social media almost immediately, the most-voiced concern being the impact Barbie’s appearance on the cover will have on body image in the eyes of girls, young women . . . and men.
But this latest move, which again sparked online debate on Wednesday about body image issues, comes as Mattel tries to revive interest in the doll icon. Barbie is worth an estimated $1.3 billion annually in sales for the toymaker and she’s the No. 1 toy brand.
Mattel hopes the “unapologetic” campaign will boost Barbie’s image.
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Posted Thursday, February 13th, 2014 at 7:07am
Filed under Sports Illustrated