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Top 10 Controversial Barbies

VO: Lisa Yang
Script written by George Pacheco Top 10 Controversial Barbies Subscribe: ‪‬‬‬‬ She may be one of the most recognizable dolls in history, but that doesn’t mean there hasn’t been bad press along the way. After all, the fashion doll is now 57 years old! In this countdown we’re taking a look at the Top 10 Controversial Barbies. For this list, we'll be ranking dolls from Mattel's Barbie line, which have served as a source of uproar or controversy. Given that Barbie has a history stretching all the way back to 1959, there's bound to be a few bumpy roads along her way to toy icon status; these are a few of doll's more embarrassing moments. We’ve included the Oreo Fun Barbie, The Sports illustrated Swimsuit Barbie, The Barbie Video Girl, Computer Engineer Barbie, Barbie Baby-sits, Growing up Skipper, Pregnant Midge, Teen Talk Barbie and Kissing Barbie. Special thanks to our user scyther for submitting the idea on our Interactive Suggestion Tool at MsMojo's Social Media: Facebook: Twitter: Instagram: Snapchat:

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Top 10 Controversial Barbies

She may be one of the most recognizable dolls in history, but even she isn't immune to a little bad press. Welcome to MsMojo, and today we're counting down our picks for the Top 10 Controversial Barbies.

For this list, we'll be ranking dolls from Mattel's Barbie line that have served as a source of uproar or controversy. Given that Barbie has a history stretching all the way back to 1959, there's bound to be a few bumpy roads along her way to toy icon status; these are a few of the doll's more embarrassing moments.

#10: Girl Scout Barbie (2014)

The controversy behind this Barbie could be considered comparatively less extreme than later entries, as its sketchiness comes down to corporate sponsorship. Girl Scout Barbie was a team up between the legendary toy company Mattel and the Girl Scouts of the USA, the first of its kind when announced back in 2014. The collaboration was met criticism and negative press almost immediately, with detractors claiming that Barbie held young girls to inappropriate and unrealistic image goals. Meanwhile, the Girl Scouts' doubled down on their decision to partner with Barbie, and created a "Be Anything, Do Anything" badge to coincide with the doll's release.

#9: Kissing Barbie (1978)

We've already established that Barbie possesses a history dating back over fifty years, so it doesn't come as a surprise that the doll has an equally long history courting controversy. Kissing Barbie was released in 1978 with a very simple, but revealing feature: she was able to kiss. The doll arrived packaged with a small lipstick, which could be applied upon the doll's puckering lips. Critics of the doll cried foul that Kissing Barbie was sexist, while its defenders held fast to the claim that it was an innocent way to tie in Barbie with her longtime toy beau, Ken.

#8: Growing Up Skipper (1975)

Mattel developed Barbie's younger sister Skipper in 1964, partially as a means of deflecting the controversies that have seemed to always follow the company's flagship doll. Nevertheless, Mattel found that Skipper herself courted outrage of her own when this version of the doll was released back in 1975. Growing Up Skipper was created to represent the onset of puberty, and possessed a feature whereby the doll's height would grow and her chest would expand upon the twisting of her arm. Some consumers took offense to what they saw as an inappropriate sexualized view of a teenaged Skipper, who, ironically, now possessed almost as much hot button potential as her sibling.

#7: Oreo Fun Barbie (1997)

It may seem strange for Barbie to cross-promote with one of America's most famous snack cookies, but this was exactly what happened back in 1997 when Oreo Fun Barbie was introduced to the masses. Nabisco and Barbie collaborated on a pair of dolls, one black and one white, to advertise what was intended as a way for young girls to play together and enjoy an after-school cookie snack. The response was negative from some African-American critics, however, who pointed out "Oreo" as a derogatory slang term against a black person who acts "white on the inside." The doll was recalled, and remains a rare find for collectors.

#6: Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Barbie (2014)

The next Barbie on our list proudly proclaimed to be #Unapologetic when she graced the fiftieth anniversary cover of Sports Illustrated annual swimsuit issue in 2014. The cover image showcased Barbie clad in an updated version of the black and white swimsuit featured in her 1959 debut, and was intended as a celebration for women to be unapologetic about themselves. Not everyone got behind this campaign, however, with some seeing the collaboration of Sports Illustrated and Barbie as one which continues the objectification of women, while others championed the campaign's claims of projecting pride and self-confidence towards its audience.

#5: Barbie Video Girl (2010)

The idea behind this 2010 Barbie seems innocent enough, as the doll was packaged with a built in video camera that could record thirty-minute videos and be uploaded online using a USB cord. Mattel's intent was likely for children to share stories and messages between each other during playtime, but the FBI saw Barbie Video Girl in a very different light. The Federal Bureau of Investigation held worry that the doll might be used for pornographic purposes by alleged sex offenders, although there wasn't enough evidence to negatively affect the sales of Barbie Video Girl, which proved quite popular with consumers.

#4: Pregnant Midge (2003)

Midge Hadley was first introduced in 1963 as a best friend of Barbie's, and was again intended to offset controversy for the often-troubled toy line. Predictably, it was Midge herself who was embroiled in a scandal of her own in 2003 when Mattel's "Happy Family" line was introduced to toy shelves. The line featured a newly married Midge with her husband Alan Sherwood and three children. The problem lied within the youngest child, Nikki, who was packaged within a magnetic womb of the doll as a newborn. Consumers complained that the doll encouraged teenage pregnancy, with some North American Wal-Mart stores pulling the dolls in the wake of its controversy.

#3: Computer Engineer Barbie (2010)

The development of Computer Engineer Barbie was a great idea in theory when it was introduced in 2010. The main controversy with this doll, however, was a promotional book connected with Barbie's new career, titled, "Barbie: I Can Be… a Computer Engineer." In it, Barbie is portrayed as needing the help of her male co-workers, after accidentally infecting office computers with a virus. Furthermore, her job description actually involves computer game design, as opposed to actual programming, with all of the complex technical work being left for the men. Barbie's dialog in the book was later re-captioned by internet users, making her a more confident and capable programmer.

#2: Barbie Baby-sits (1963)

Barbie had held a number of jobs over the years, but her steady work as a babysitter-for-hire is one constant for the venerable toy doll. The controversy behind 1963's Barbie Baby Sits was due primarily to the book that accompanied Barbie on her babysitting gigs, a tome which was titled "How to Lose Weight." Consumers were not only miffed with the book's title, but were also further angered when the book's advice on the subject was stated, simply, "don't eat!" This wouldn't be the only time Barbie would face weight-image issues, however, as two years layer Slumber Party Barbie would be packaged with a similar book AND a scale topping out at 110 pounds, an unrealistic weight goal for a character designed to be 5'9".

Before we name our most controversial Barbie, here a few honorable, or in this case, dishonorable mentions!

Totally Stylin' Tattoos Barbie (2009)

Black Canary Barbie (2008)

#1: Teen Talk Barbie (1992)

Teenagers say a lot of things, but Mattel found themselves in particularly hot water in 1992 when Teen Talk Barbie was released. The doll line was programmed with 270 different phrases, with each individual doll arriving with a set of four, making each Barbie's vocabulary quite unique. Controversy arose from some of these phrases, however, one of which was the doll exclaiming, "Math class is tough!" The American Association of University Women took umbrage to this phrase, while also noting the stereotypical nature of some other Teen Talk Barbie phrases, including "I love shopping!" and "Will we ever have enough clothes?"

Do you agree with our list? Which Barbie doll design had you or your parents doing a double take? For more retro top ten lists published every day, please subscribe to MsMojo!

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