Two Argentinean artists are being sued by Mattel, the makers of Barbie, for their use of the iconic doll in their new calendar. It doesn’t seem so much an issue of using the Barbie logo, but Breno Costa and Guilherme Souza, of Buenos Aires, showcase the freakishly perfect doll nude, and in many months, “provocatively posed” with another female doll.
The goal, according to the artists, was to comment on how sex is used to sell everything. Not that people didn’t already realize that – and now they, themselves, are doing the same thing. No matter. What’s really interesting here is that Mattel has such a problem with the idea of “Barbie the lesbian” or “Experimental Barbie” that they need to much such a strong statement with a legal action.
But where was Mattel and their lawyers when I was a kid, chopping my Barbie’s long locks, coloring them with scented blue markers and piercing her nose with pins? I’m pretty sure I also had her ditch Ken (I didn’t know why, it just didn’t seem like a natural fit) in favor of Nikki or 90210’s Kelly.
Barbie is such an iconic image and has been used throughout the years in many ways from art to film. I’d be interested in seeing some sort of documentation of all the lawsuits Mattel has filed or attempted to file against those who mar Barbie’s good name. You know, the one that teaches young girls all about healthy body image, dating way too soon and that material things aren’t important. (I mean, who needs to think about owning a Dream House at age seven or owning an over-priced, impractical gas-guzzling convertible?)
Do you think they are really (or have time to be) so concerned with how the Barbie dolls are used and portrayed, or more worried about their precious Barbie being associated with — gasp — lesbians?!
In a statement, Mattel’s European spokesperson, Dr. Stephanie Wegener said, “We have nothing to do with these pictures. We don’t want Barbie portrayed in this way, especially with our logo.”
It’s understandable for a company to not want their product used in a way to make other people a profit, but it makes people wonder what the problem really is, when they are so adamant about “the way” Barbie is portrayed. Has Mattel ever stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, Barbie was born that way?