In an effort to maintain her relevance in society, every few years Barbie goes through a dramatic, newsworthy makeover. What is her latest reincarnation? Tattoo Barbie, complete with cactus covered dog-like creature, “Bastardino.”
Tattoo Barbie, a limited edition doll from Japanese inspired brand Tokidoki, will set you back $50. Your investment will net you a pink haired Barbie with a heart and cross-bone styled black tee that droops off her left shoulder. Completing the outfit is a short hot-pink skirt, which barely covers her leopard print leggings. Wrapping things up is a pair of silver glittery high-heels and less we forget, tattoos cover her chest, arms, and oh yeah, her neck.
As is par for the course with any Barbie makeover, the latest addition has been met with a mix of praise and displeasure. Along with the familiar complaints that Barbie’s physical dimensions cannot be achieved by any living woman on Earth, some parents are accusing the makers of Barbie of further destroying young women’s self-perception. Other parents, many with tattoos of their own, are praising Barbie for making a more modern version for their kids. One that shows of the many jobs Barbie has held over the years, from Ballerina to Doctor and everything in between, people can have pink hair and tattoos and still be gainfully employed and successful. That is, if you believe Barbie is the embodiment of a plastic role model for the millions of kids who play with her.
This is not the first time the makers of Barbie have tried their hand in the world of tattoos. In 1999 ‘Butterfly Art Barbie’ was removed after complaints from parents. However, in 2009, a removable tattoo version called ‘Totally Stylin’ Tattoos Barbie’ sold out in many markets despite protests from parents. This is the first Barbie with permanent ink. As it stands now, Mattel says they have “no intentions to discontinue the doll.”
What are your thoughts on Tattoo Barbie? Has Mattel finally gone too far? Does Barbie have as large as impact on the perceptions of young women who play with these dolls as the media tries to portray? Do you believe Barbie has as large an impact on African American children, young women specifically, as she might on children of other cultural backgrounds?
Part of the problem may be that tattoos are not as mainstream as people with tattoos would like the rest of the country to believe. Just ask Cam Newton. For those of you who don’t follow football, Cam Newton was the NFL’s 2011 number one draft pick. He went to the Carolina Panthers. Shortly thereafter, in an interview with PBS, Carolina Panther Owner, Jerry Richardson, shared the following story:
“I said, ‘Do you have any tattoos?’” Richardson recalled of his first meeting with the Auburn product. “He said, ‘No, sir. I don’t have any.’ I said, ‘Do you have any piercings?’ He said, ‘No, sir. I don’t have any.’ I said, ‘We want to keep it that way.’
“We want to keep no tattoos, no piercings, and I think you’ve got a very nice haircut,” he added.
I don’t know if there was a contractual agreement tied to Richardson’s request of Newton. However, in a league where hundreds of men have tattoos and no league-wide policy on the subject, it seems strange that an owner would direct one specific player that happens to be African American to abide by this rule. It seems even stranger when you consider the fact that Richardson has hired and continues to employ players violating this no tattoo and no piercings rule.
This is not a team wide policy, this is a Cam Newton policy. Ironically, Cam Newton, who is by no means known for his shyness on speaking his mind, has not had much to say on the subject. We really have no indication that he planned on getting any tattoos or piercings before this mandate. We are merely left with speculation and rumors, not that such a void doesn’t make for the best conversations. After all, in the absence of facts, people will make them up. Therefore, the general consensus is that Jerry Richardson seems to believe a long-haired, tattooed African American will be harder to sale as the face of his franchise than a short-haired, no tattoo and no piercings one. Unless you believe tattoos and piercings will affect Cam Newton’s ability to play football, which is technically the only thing Richardson hired Newton to do.
What are your thoughts on Jerry Richardson’s request of Cam Newton? Do owners have the right to tell players how to live, dress, and act outside of items that directly affect how they perform on the football field? Where does this power of control end? Do athletes relinquish a certain level of personal rights because of the income they make and position they may hold – chosen or expected – as role models in society?