#Unapologetic Barbie Campaign Goes Too Far

Barbie's #Unapologetic Campaign (photo: Twitter/Barbie)

Barbie’s #Unapologetic Campaign (photo: Twitter/Barbie)


This seems like it would be a post for girls, but guys, read on. This has to do with your mothers, your daughters, your wives…and yourselves.

Barbie has officially become the cover spread, a sexualized icon, for the Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit edition. And just how does Barbie’s manufacturer Mattel feel about it? #unapologetic

As quoted in this article

“Barbie’s hot. She takes instruction almost silently.”


If your jaw hasn’t dropped yet, read on…


“Christopher Hercik, Sports Illustrated’s creative director, adds, ‘She’s in some ways the perfect model. She doesn’t blink, she doesn’t smile, she takes direction.’ So to sum it up, the perfect female model is someone who looks sexy, keeps her mouth shut, and is made of plastic.”


To begin to address the problems with Barbie being campaigned as not only a sex icon, but as the “ideal woman” is to begin a seemingly uphill battle against our cultural norms and how men and women are encouraged to view and relate to each other. This is not juts a male problem. This is bigger than just a female problem. This is a battle for our self-worth, our dignity, and our sexuality.


And this is not a new battle.

For years people have fought against magazines and advertising that exploit women in a variety of ways, and our culture’s claimed ignorance or innocence regarding such matters, but something about crossing over into the market of a children’s toy with a sex-driven agenda feels sickening and wrong on a much deeper level.


If you’re still scratching your head trying to figure out how all these pieces fit together…a children’s toy as a swimsuit model and the “unapologetic” title of this campaign, Mattel’s statement is this:

“As a legend herself, and under criticism about her body and how she looks, posing in ‘Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit’ gives Barbie and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are, celebrate what they have done, and be unapologetic.”

Oh, where do I even begin?


Is this Barbie’s attempt to fight the criticism on her plastic figure {with the human scale measurements of 36-18-33} or fight against her “self-esteem issues”? Has Barbie undergone fire for “who she is” and this is her attempt to reclaim her identity?

We are talking about a doll…..right?

A doll that I played with growing up. A doll that I named and carried around with me. A doll whose hair I brushed and whose outfits I stored in a big, pink bin in my play room. A doll I tucked in at night and imagined her pretend life in my doll house.


That doll is now going straight from the commercials between children’s television shows to the cover of a “barely there” magazine edition for adults.

Is anybody else suddenly feeling ill?

I am going to start to draw some parallels that may shock or appall readers who don’t see this as that big of a deal, so consider yourself warned…



Sex trafficking in the United States is at an all time high, and the average age of entry into commercial exploitation in America is between 12 and 14 years old.

The Super Bowl is one of the biggest arena’s for sex trafficking in the U.S. A beloved American tradition that brings foot ball fans and commercial-watchers alike together is the breeding ground for one of the most demoralizing and horrific crimes against children and humanity.



Sex is no longer private and sacred intimacy, it’s an industry.

And Barbie is no longer just a toy, she’s a symbol.


And while there isn’t a straight line drawn connecting the two, they aren’t worlds apart either.



Sex trafficking of children is on the rise.

A children’s toy being used as a sex icon.



To think each of these issues has nothing to do with the other is to deny that there is a decay in the protection and innocence of our children and a demoralization of sex in our culture. 


Television shows about teen pregnancy.

A rise in child abuse, abduction, and children being attacked at school.



It’s all connected.

And to be honest, it’s quite a mess.



The origins of Barbie claim innocence…somewhat…but whether they imagined their 1950’s doll as a swimsuit model or not, that is where we find ourselves today.

Lines blurred, morality being chipped away at, and the innocence of a children’s toy disintegrating right before our very eyes.




Since Barbie, Mattel and Sports Illustrated feel no remorse {#unapologetic}, it’s our job to apologize to our wives and sisters, our husbands and fathers and brothers for the way we have allowed our identity as sexual beings to become manipulated, distorted, and misused. For the part we have played, either as a participant or a bystander, in letting sex become an object, not a person or a holy experience as designed by God.


It’s our job to teach our children things that are good, and safe, and pure. What their roles in society are, their identity and how they should be treated. That they are valuable and cherished and so incredibly wonderful.



Because if you don’t, they will learn their lessons from Barbie.


And sex will continue to be abused as an industry.


And if you don’t stop the cycle in your corner of the world with the influence you have, then who will?




For more on sex trafficking, read this article. Or simply web search it. It’s far more prevalent than any of us would like to admit.

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