Got Ink? Barbie Does
The newest Barbie doll to hit store shelves is sparking controversy. The doll sports several tattoos, and some parents say it’s sending the wrong message to their kids.
Called, for some bizarre reason, Tokidoki Barbie, the impossibly shaped tiny plastic female is the newest addition to the iconic collection that’s been warping the minds of little girls with impossible standards of beauty for over 50 years now.
Tokidoki Barbie is edgy, with pink hair, and sky-high stilettos. Well, maybe she just has pink hair and sky-high stilettos. Anyone who thinks tattoos are edgy nowadays should probably upgrade to Windows 95.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate for little girls to be having Barbies with tattoos all over,” Reye Griffith, a parent, said awkwardly, most likely as she placed a lone corndog into a dirty microwave.
Tokidoki Barbie’s upper plastic torso, which is shaped nothing like a human female, is covered with exotic-looking tattoos. A large flower covers her chest and a tiger curls up her neck.
“I think it sends all the wrong signals to young girls,” said Mitti Hansen, the mother of a 4-year-old girl she doesn’t want all the wrong signals sent to.
Tokidoki Barbie is not the first Barbie to sport tattoos. In 2009, Mattel unveiled Totally Stylin’ Barbie, but her tattoos were stick-on and could be removed. Since everyone and their dog knows that removable tattoos aren’t even slightly stylin’, much less totally stylin’, Mattel decided to up the ante on the realistic.
Tokidoki Barbie’s tats are actually inked on. Even concerted, vigorous scrubbing won’t remove them. Solvents, flame, or razor blades are the only hope.
“Maybe if a little girl sees those tattoos, she’ll also want a tattoo too, and I think that’s not good,” another parent, Latifa Zyne, also said awkwardly, in all likelihood, as she, too, placed a lone corndog into a dirty microwave.
Body art is a growing trend, to say the least. According to the American Academy of Dermatology, 1 in 4 Americans ages 18 to 50 now has at least one tattoo, which makes us, as a nation, only about 75% dorky.
Tattoo artist Pablo Jimenez said Tokidoki Barbie is just a reflection of a more accepting attitude toward body ink. “Tattoos right now are everywhere. It’s just about art. It’s nothing bad.”
In previous decades, tattoos were a sign of rebellion. Of course, that was only in our culture, which has long been twisted by the uniquely uptight weirdness that is Christianity. In other cultures, tattoos marked adulthood, membership, rites of passage, or were simply creations of beauty.
American society is unique in its ability to absorb rebellious behavior, mass produce it, and render it harmless. That’s precisely what it did with rock n’ roll. It’s entirely conceivable that within a year the Occupy Wall Street movement will be sponsored by Coleman Camping Gear.
Today, the tattoo is in flux. It can range from a mind-blowing work of art, to a pop culture celebration, to a simple fashion statement. It can have a deep personal meaning for the wearer or simply be “cute”.
There’s no way, however, that it can seriously be considered a form of rebellion anymore, not when Barbie’s got ink, for pete sake.
Some parents, though, really are on edge about a tattooed Barbie doll, probably because they’re bored out of their minds or simply too terrified to confront real problems. Maybe by pretending this is a serious issue and taking a stand against it, they can give themselves something to do while Western Civilization crumbles down around them.
Whatever gets them through the night, I guess.
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