Barbie Gets Tattoos
April 30, 2009

We've all seen it -- that beautiful, young woman bending over to pick something up only to reveal a strategically placed tattoo just above her buttcrack. The sight of her buttcrack notwithstanding, you can't help but feel slightly...violated.

I'm not one of those people who feels it's my place to go around telling others their decision to get a tattoo is a bad idea. If you're an adult, you can make whatever decision you like. It's your life and your body. I do have an opinion on the matter though. I happen to believe tattoos are incredibly shortsighted, but to each their own. If you want to be a sixty-five year old rocking an emblazoned scripture on your forearm, that's your bag. Old wrinkly tattoos though? Not a good look. Where I take issue with the tatting trend that seems to be running rampant among young people is when children are being evangelized that tattoos are all the rage.

It turns out these days even middle-aged women are getting tattoos. Last month, it was announced that at 50-years-old, Mattel's Barbie Doll is celebrating by getting a tattoo. The LA times reports:

"We begin in Southern California, where, just in time for spring, Mattel Inc. has released Totally Stylin' Tattoos Barbie. The doll comes with a set of more than 40 tiny tattoo stickers that can be placed on her body. Also included is a faux tattoo gun with wash-off tats that kids can use to ink themselves.

A spokeswoman for the El Segundo toy maker said it was a great way for youngsters to be creative with their pint-sized gal pal. But some parents are horrified by this body-art Barbie, labeling her the "tramp stamp" queen of playtime."

We can all thank the Bratz dolls for opening up the door to this madness. You'll recall that some time ago, makers of the Bratz dolls came under fire for their scantily clad, overly sexualized dolls targeting young girls of color. Bratz dolls were said to have been an effort to boost self esteem among girls of colors who don't see themselves represented in the doll industry. These dolls came complete with lace thongs, push up bras, and garter belts. If that's the best toy makers had to offer by way of culturally inclusive dolls, I'll pass.

Some parents are wishing toy makers would draw the line somewhere. The LA Times interviewed a mommyblogger on the new Tattoo-laced Barbie:

On her parenting blog, Telling It Like It Is, Texas mother Lin Burress sarcastically predicted that "Totally Pierced Barbie" would be the next to roll off the assembly line. Readers commenting on the blog chimed in with their own fictional "Divorce Barbie," who would take possession of Ken's accessories.

Burress, a 46-year-old mother of six, said she was fed up with companies pushing racy fare to kids to make a profit.

"It's just one more thing being added to the pile of junk, like push-up bras and Bratz dolls, being marketed to these ridiculously young kids," she said. "These so-called toys just create a sense of rebellion."

I think Lin Burress hit the nail on the head. It's hard enough raising young women in this society who don't arrive at age 12 without having been completely indoctrinated with thoughts of insufficiency, insecurity, rebelliousness and shallow self-worth. If the goal of society is to raise up a generation of young women who will make smart, informed decisions for themselves, this type of doll is a step in the wrong direction. The last thing we need is the future professionals of America being fed the hype that tattoos are commonplace. Maybe it's just me, but I think the world could use one less woman whose 18th birthday plans include an appointment at the Lucky Devil Tattoo salon for her very own tramp stamp, no?

I understand that many view tattoos as a means of expression, but even the wise folks tattoo themselves discretely. Believe it or not, as far as we think we've come, there are still a number of stigmas attached to people with visible tattoos who attempt to enter the professional world. When was the last time you saw the average influential leader, politician, CEO, VP, principal, head of state, Executive Director, pastor, physician, or psychologist with a tattoo sleeve? Sorry to make generalizations, but those you will find are few and far between. Unfortunately for some young people, they already have enough stigmas coming against them. The last thing they need is another reason for someone not to take them seriously.

This isn't the first time Mattel has set off some parents with new products. The UK Telegraph reports:

"The firm has twice misjudged the public reaction to their Barbie products, once in 1999 when a previously tattooed version was pulled and once when a pregnant doll was brought out.
My favorite line from the UK's article read, "The doll now comes with a set of sticker tattoos so children can make her look like their heroes, such as Jordan, Amy Winehouse or Cheryl Cole." Because we all know Amy Winehouse is picture of heroism. Pray for her, seriously.

If there's ever been a doubt that we live in a mammon-driven culture, irresponsible toy makers are a glaring reminder. Sadly, they aren't the only culprits. Not surprisingly, the new tattoo Barbie is selling better than expected. This begs the question, who are these people buying this doll for their daughters? Nevermind, I don't even want to know. If you're the parent of young daughters, do your girls a favor and say "pass." I'm holding out for "Abstinence Barbie" or "Homeowner, Valedictorian, Entrepreneur Barbie." That'll be the day!

(Note: I use the phrase "Tramp Stamp" flippantly. I don't intend it to be a derogatory term nor do I wish to imply that women with lower back tattoos are "tramps".)

Posted by Ambra at April 30, 2009 10:10 AM in Pop Culture ,Sex/Purity
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I'm surprised they didn't mention the other Mattel misstep, Oreo fun Barbie--but I digress. I agree with you wholeheartedly, and you're not saying that young women who tattoo that lovely area above the butt crack are tramps, but that the tattoo itself is a stamp of trampdom. My husband made that observation while watching the movie, Cars, for goodness sake. The girl car has a tramp stamp she mistakenly reveals. . . and it's a kid movie about cars--so completely out of place.

So sad. Now I have to be careful when buying Barbies for my granddaughter. Yikes.

It says Indonesia, too. We have missionary relatives over there. And their daughter is four years old. Can you imagine her question---why does it say Ken??

Oops! I forgot to mention that the Mattel misstep was black Oreo Barbie, not just Oreo Fun Barbie. She's one smart cookie!


OMG I totally forgot about Oreo Barbie. That one was a HUGE misstep. Like gigantic. And that's so funny that you point out the tramp stamp in Cars. I totally forgot about that. And usually I am a Pixar fan through and through. Wow...kinda disappointing.

Wow, this is even worse than the "makeover" Mattel gave to Dora. Oh well. I feel a boycott coming on.

Barry is a funny guy, why not go around his zone. dofus power leveling

Aw man, you missed your chance!
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