Heads up, Net nerds, the Barbie Bikini Backlash is about the be taken to historic levels.
Everyone’s favorite blonde beauty standard is headed your way on the cover of the next Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue—now with even more plastic!—as part of promotional advertorial content aimed at… sales?
This year marks the 50th edition of the Swimsuit Issue, which brings back swimsuit legends like Heidi Klum and Christie Brinkley (we approve). But Barbie, the polished pint-sized pinup, wants her share of the stage as well.
“Barbie is a legend in her own right, with more than 150 careers and a brand valued at $3 billion,” a Mattel spokeswoman said via AdAge.
The news was not universally well-received, to say the least.
“Misguided at best, disgusting at worst. As if Barbie didn’t set an impossible ideal as it is, you have to put it in the SI Swimsuit Edition?” said concerned netizen Brian Driver on a post on the Barbie parent company’s Facebook page.
Facebook mom Jennifer Ladewig described the marketing announcement as “disturbing.”
“Let’s sexualize Barbie even more. She is so unrealistic in every way. I have five daughters and I am so thankful that they never cared for Barbies.”
In a move that might prove almost as offensive to some as the concept itself, the Barbie-Swimsuit marketing campaign has been dubbed “Unapologetic.”
At least consumers can have a realistic idea of any response to their criticisms.
“As with Barbie, every year the Swimsuit edition sparks conversations about women and body image, and Sports Illustrated stands unapologetically behind this issue that women, in reality, love,” Mattel told Adweek. “Unapologetic is a rally cry to embrace who you are and to never have to apologize for it.”
Opportunistic aficionado Linda Rafalski displayed an uncanny ability to miss the point in defending the move, saying “Aw, c’mon people. It is just a doll. If all we had were Cabbage patch dolls you would complain of how unrealistic those dolls are. (selling my 1962 Barbie Dream house if you are interested).”
Swimsuit Issue fans, fear not: the Barbie section is only a coverwrap, the New York Times reassures you.
The Barbie-wrapped edition of the Swimsuit Issue hits stands February 18, preceded by a “Barbie Beach House Party” (complete with a “pink carpet”) in New York.
What do you think of Barbie gracing the cover of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue?