Home Featured SingleBlackMale.org Hot Topic: Barbie Gets Tattoos Before Cam Newton

SingleBlackMale.org Hot Topic: Barbie Gets Tattoos Before Cam Newton


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.”

Limited Edition: Tattoo Barbie

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:

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“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?


  1. Maybe i have a tattoo biasness but I don’t see the problem. As far as toys go back little boys could be whatever they wanted to be, just look down the Toys R Us aisles. They could be a a doctor, a basketball star, a construction worker, a mechanic, an army man, or on the other spectrum… a bipolar green man who needs counceling because he smashes everything (some of y’all still do…you see what i did there?) And can’t keep his clothes on when he’s angry, a stunned-faced ghost murder, a corrupt cop….and what did we have to look forward to? Cooking (easy bake), cleaning (y’all remember the toy vaccuum cleaners) , a nurturer (baby alive & other dolls) or a lady in waiting (take your pick of the princesses)… so im not understanding why I can’t be a tattooed fashion diva (because I am). Alls I’m saying is that boys always had a choice of being one of the good guys or to be welcomes to the darkside…. why can’t girls?

  2. Didn’t mention this in the post but in my opinion, the tattoo Barbie is going too far. It’s a doll predominately geared towards children, young women specifically. I would not buy this or a similar doll for my kids. Overall, I think we’re getting lazier and lazier as a society, not to mention less accountable, when we knowingly put tattoos on a children’s doll because “everyone is doing it.” As the years go by we just seem to expect less and less of ourselves.

    I think Cam Newton should be allowed to get tattoos because he is a grown man. If he wants tattoos, piercings and long hair, that is his choice and that is how I would explain it to my son or daughter in that context. The fact that this “rule” only applies to Cam Newton bothers me too because it seems to reinforce the scary tattooed black man stereotype.

    1. You make a good point. I don't knock people for having tattoos nor do I knock the Barbie for representing a type of individual in our society. Yet, I think it is more so the message this doll conveys that I have a problem with. There is a message being sent to children that far surpasses them embracing individuality. I believe it is actually promoting to children that it is okay to be 'bad' or go against the grain. Now I know some people will just interpret this as teaching children to embrace being different, but where do we draw the line?

      There was just a post on this site not too long discussing the trouble with the youth today. Now we are seeing that children are being molded at an even younger age. Now society is trying to teach children that marring their bodies is okay and acceptable. Yeah, I'm sure I'm going to get some replies from people who have tattoos and are okay with them that won't agree with what I'm saying. That's cool, because I don't care about an adult making a decision to alter their body (they have that right), but that is not a message that should be conveyed to a child. It's time for parents and society in general to become more accountable for the messages that are being taught to our youth.

      It's time for some changes. Children shouldn't be excused from learning what's right just because their parents aren't doing what's right. Give the child the opportunity to know what's right and what's wrong and once they are old enough let them make their own decision. A child shouldn't be raised on what's wrong just because their parents are okay with that type of behavior. Personally, I think that's where the problem with the youth today came from.

      I didn't mean to go on a rant, but to sum it up…a grown man should have a choice of whether or not he wants to get a tattoo…a child on the other hand should not even be enticed by that type of behavior nor should it be promoted to them.
      My recent post I Just Realized That I’ve Never Had Any FRIENDS

      1. considering most tattoo parlors (at least reputable ones) won't give anyone under the age of 18 a tattoo, nor anyone who seems intoxicated, I think having a barbie with tattoos is not going to increase the number of children running out to get them.

        also, are you trying to say that tattoos are a "wrong" type of behavior?

    2. @WisdomIsMisery

      My quick take…

      I do not do tattoos… 1. They are painful to install & hard to uninstall… 2. Although I am currently agnostic… I still feel like there is some spiritual undefined significance to having or not having tats…
      Barbie has taken it too far… nuff said..

      Killa Cam… Personally, I don’t want him with tats & piercings who cares how you feel Adonis I understand the coaches position… And I agree… HE IS THE QUARTERBACK… The guiding light of this team… And he is BLACK He has the biggest influence on the field… & He is the FACE of my franchise… Until he wins a Superbowl … No Tats, No Piercings…

      (And by staying tatless & piercingless, he appeals to more conservative people who hate black people in general, but root for their respective teams, I think)

    3. Just a heads up but $50 designer barbies are NOT designed for children. They are 100% geared towards adults. http://www.angelicdreamz.com/BARBIE–DESIGNER-DOL… Designer barbies are highly collectable and very expensive. I've seen Vera Wang dolls and Monique Lhuillier dolls with dresses that cost more than real wedding dresses. http://www.barbiecollector.com/showcase/category/
      These Barbies are not created for kids but are designed by actual fashion designers for grown ups who like dolls.

      Also if a child has a PARENT with a tattoo, don't you think that a parent is a bigger influence on a child than the doll?

  3. I really wanted to write a serious comment, but I keep looking at Cam Newton and getting distracted. This is the best I could come up with under the circumstances.

    "Has Mattel finally gone too far?"

    Of course not. There's nothing offensive about a tattooed Barbie. So what if she's not "traditional"? Neither is Black Barbie. I think parents who seriously spend their time protesting unoffensive artwork on a doll should refocus their energy on things that actually impact their children, like education reform. Where are our priorities? I mean, if you don't want your daughter to have a tattooed Barbie, don't buy her one. Maybe I'm missing the real issue here, or maybe there just isn't one to be missed.

    If she had "I'm a BAD B***H!" tatted across her tummy, then we may have a problem. But other than that….

    And I like tattoo-less, piercing-less Cam. I think Richardson didn't want the media to see him as the typical (black) athlete that can't stay out of trouble. But of course tattoos & piercings have very little, if any, impact on his actions. Like it or not, Cam Newton is a brand now and his actions off and off the field affect the way the public views him. The decision to conform or not is ultimately up to Cam, however, not Richardson.

    1. "If she had "I'm a BAD B***H!" tatted across her tummy, then we may have a problem."

      LOL! Yeah! No doubt, that would definitely be a problem. To be honest, I wouldn't be surprised if that Barbie hasn't been drafted or designed already. They probably are just waiting for the right time to release it or waiting for the right and willing celebrity to promote it.

      I hope not…but you never know.
      My recent post I Just Realized That I’ve Never Had Any FRIENDS

    2. I somewhat agree but I think it’s a progression. Now they’ve gotten away with this, what’s next? For example, they put out the first tattoo Barbie and pulled it due to protest in 1999. In 2009 they brought it back with removable tattoos and it sells out. Plus to your type of tattoo point, who is to say that Barbie isn’t next? I also find it weird with the placement of the tattoos – chest and neck? How many women do we know with chest and neck tattoos? If we are going to tolerate tattoos on a Barbie I’m not sure those are the type of tattoos we want to encourage.

      1. As someone above mentioned, you typically can't get a tattoo until you're 18 anyway. By that time, your kids are not playing with dolls. And if they are, you've got bigger issues to be worried about.

        I don't think this is an issue. I mean, what's your 5 yr old daughter going to do? Draw a flower on her neck? If you don't like it, wash it off. But I know you've got tats WIM, so if anything, your issue will be trying to explain to your daughter why it's okay for Daddy to have them but not Barbie. Good luck with that one, btw.

        And yea, I think the progression thing may be an issue later if things get worse. But this….this is practically harmless.

    3. I agree that parents just shouldn't buy the Barbie if they don't like it. On the other hand with the way things are today, parents can prevent their kids from seeing an image, doll etc. Her friends could have it, etc.

      Its like that PSA where the kid is studying with his iPod on and the mother walks in and is glad to see her child studying. That kid is hearing music and media 10x more that they hear their parent's voice. I think parents realize that media is stronger than them at times. So controlling media is helping to control kids.
      My recent post MissRepresentation

      1. I thought about this. But then I remembered that when I was young, my mom let me have as many sleepovers as I wanted but she hardly ever let me go to my friends' houses. I didn't understand it then, but I do now: you can't control other people's parenting, but you can control your own.

        If I don't want my child to have the doll but her friend has it, I will explain to my daughter why I don't want her to have it. I can't prevent her from being exposed to everything that I don't want her to, but I can teach her what I want her to know and try my hardest to prevent her from doing the things that I don't want her to do. But most importantly:
        I won't stand in the way of another person raising their child the way they want to.

        Just because I don't want my child to have a tatted Barbie, that doesn't mean I have the right to stand in the way of somebody else giving it to their child.If we take it off the market, then that's exactly what we're doing. We have to learn to take a stand to raise our children without interfering in the lives of people who raise their kids differently. Because we know that if someone had the nerve to tell us what we should and should not give to our children, all hell would break loose.

  4. I do think Barbie (and other dolls) heavily influence the self-perception of children, regardless of race. I am not exactly sure how I feel about this Tattoo Barbie though. On one hand I feel like why not have it? How is this hurting anybody? How is this offending anybody? And on the other hand, I personally believe that tattoos are stupid because they are pointless… they serve no purpose. So to have a toy that promotes something pointless? Eh, not the best idea. I would never buy that for my child. I'd probably give her one of these dolls -http://www.stylishbella.com/natural-hair-dolls.html. That's something I'd want to encourage- loving your natural hair. Anywhoooooo…

    I don't know too much about Cam Newton but I admire the fact that he has no tattoos and piercings. I do, however, think it is kinda absurd to request that he not change that. He should be free to do whatever he wants to with his body.
    My recent post How NOT to Approach A Woman

  5. But… She looks like a Nicki Minaj Barbie, hold the ass implants and what have you… *facepalm* Why?

    Mattel has got to get it together. The groups that Barbie appeal to are from the ages of 3-8 (maybe) and we all know they can't get tattoos until damn near 18. So this is pushing it. And that's just one reason. The short skirt? The shoulder baring shirt? The LEOPARD leggings? Stripper heels? What are we setting up for the generations of kids to come? Lol <– it's a sad laughter. A sad "The world is about to end" laughter…

    My recent post In Lust We Trust II

    1. This doll is licensed by mattel to tokidoki. It will not be readily available to kids. It will only be found on the internet as a $50 limited edition. So… I think people can calm down.

    2. Barbie has always dressed like a slutbucket… I had a super long hair Barbie when I was around 8 and I remember calling her Hooker Barbie because her dress was skin tight and super mini

    3. Prettykeety you hit the NAIL on the head. I might have done things that my parents didn't want but I ALWAYS knew that they disapproved and that mattered to me. For me I wanted to watch MTV and they told me I wasn't mature enough to understand videos like "The thong song". I snuck and watched anyway… but I knew I was doing wrong. They ALWAYS sat me down and explained why they thought an action was inappropriate.

    4. This. Barbie. Is. NOT. For. Kids.

      I cannot stop rolling my eyes at these posts. TokiDoki is a clothing company that doesn't make childrens clothing. This doll is also $50 which is full $30 more than a standard barbie doll. This is a designer doll. Designer dolls run from $50 to $500 depending on the designer. Vera Wang had a doll. So did Calvin Klien in the 90s. They are dolls created and styled by designers and sold to adults who collect fashion dolls.

      It's not like this doll is on TV commercials. Its only purchasable on the TokiDoki website.

  6. I think we have gone too far in terms of what we expose our children to. Tattoos aren't bad persay, but shouldn't be put on a children's doll where no explanation can be given. At least if a child's parent has a tattoo they can explain to the child why they have it and the pros and cons of having them. Putting it on a doll makes it look a little too normal. Children are still developing and don't have the capacity to fully understand so many things we throw at them these days. I notice that now there are an increasing number of stores and companies that will give makeovers to girls. Full on makeup. The stores and the mothers of these girls say its just makeup, do the girls know that? Or do they start to think, "well only makeup makes me pretty"? Will most children who see this doll think Barbie got tattoos because she was trying to be independent, or will they see tattoos as something else that you need to get to be accepted by society/be pretty?

    And this Barbie looks like a rebel version on Lindsay Lohan, trashy. She is independent but still in 4 inch silver heels… smh
    My recent post MissRepresentation

  7. Dolls or any toys, music/media should be age appropriate. Having an understanding of this is good parenting. If it's not age appropriate for a child of a certain age to see a rated PG-13/R movie, then it's also not appropriate for that child to play with a doll that looks like a grown woman who has made certain choices that you dont agree with. Even if Matel is marketing the doll to children, at the end of the day parents make choices.

  8. Barbie does have a sizeable impact on African American children, especially when it comes to skin and body image. If it's less of a general impact, it's likely because not as many black households might have it as do white ones, due in part to socio-economic factors. I don't care for Tattoo barbie, and that's mostly because I was raised in a household in which tattoos are not exactly celebrated. While I can see myself with someone with relatively well hidden tattoos, I don't plan to encourage my children to start gazing adoringly at some object that has badly placed ones…or any at all, for that matter. Tattoo parlours don't allow under 18's to get tattoos, but guess what? Kids internalize certain things and grow up into young adults who are eager to do all the things they wished they could when they were younger. That aside, it makes little sense for me to get my child something and then have to explain why it's a bad idea to have tattoos along your neck. If it's inconsistent with the message that I'm trying to send my kids, it should not be in my house. Mind you, all this makes me a bit of a hypocrite because I do recall getting some temporary tattoos in my early teenage years.

    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?

    Here's something I found interesting about these questions. At the end of the day, these people are paid to work. The rest of us who are adhere to dress codes, and sometimes rules against such things as tattoos (at least, visible ones) and/or specific kinds of piercings. It's a slippery slope for HR to determine what could constitute a violation of the person's rights, but if you agree to it, you must abide by it. Few of us would agree to a verbal request to stay away from x,y,z, and then proceed to renege on that once we've gained some stature within the company. Yet, a lot of these things do not affect our ability to perform our jobs well. They have more to do with the kind of image that the big heads are seeking to promote. I do agree that it's not cool for one person to be singled out, but they would probably be doing themselves a disservice if they were to blacklist every player with tattoos. They've chosen, however, to voice an opinion to one who can still adhere to an ideal image they may have in mind.

  9. Mattel hasnt gone too far. Parents who dont think that the Barbie is a proper image for their kids should express their opinion w/ their wallets.

    As for Cam, the man doesnt want a tattoo’d guy as the face of his organization. I dont think it has anything to do with race because as you mentioned he has many people on his team that does not fit into his policy. I imagine that he would have asked that of any QB he drafted. Sort of reminds me of the fact that you must be shaven and have a neat haircut to be a Yankee.

    1. On the low… If the man was white, and got tats… would the coach & fans have a problem with it… Although we would never know… I wouldn't be surprised if their was some hypocrisy there…


  10. I do think Barbie (and other dolls) heavily influence the self-perception of children, regardless of race. I am not exactly sure how I feel about this Tattoo Barbie though. On one hand I feel like why not have it? How is this hurting anybody? How is this offending anybody? And on the other hand, I personally believe that tattoos are stupid because they are pointless… they serve no purpose.

    1. Tattoos serve the same purpose as makeup, hair cuts, jewelry and other accessories, and clothing choices. They are decorative and some serve a purpose of being religious symbols or to show how much you love something. They may be pointless to you, of course, but I wouldn't say they don't serve a purpose.

  11. I think that if you have tattoos then you'll probably be in a position to defend this tattoo Barbie. However, if you don't that would factor in your analysis. I think it would be beneficial that when you comment you state if you have them or not. I think that it's okay to have a tattoo Barbie because people are collecting these things well into their adulthood. I'm not sure you want your kid to have it because then they start wanting to look like Barbie and have tattoos.

    1. I have tattoos. I also think that most children will know an adult in their family with tattoos. The only adults in my family who don't have atleast 1 are 40+. I am 24, my sister is 20 with 2 kids, her husband has tattoos, my mother has tattoos and is 42. For reference I was raised by 2 attorneys who didn't like tattoos. However I know doctors, lawyers and many other professionals with tattoos. I myself run a successful alternative clothing company in Philadelphia. My uncles, my aunts, my cousins all had tattoos. My choice to get them was more in line with the fact that they were common place in my life and not a bit out of place as self expression. I'm also a ultra creative graphic designer, musician and artist. So it's acceptable in my field to look weird.

      Back on the barbie topic. The doll is acceptable regardless of my stance on tattoos. We live in a nation where people say "If I don't like it get rid of it". We do this with religion all the time. We need to accept people and their choices and teach our children not just to not do things but why we think that they shouldn't do them either. I knew my aunt and uncle (the lawyers who raised me) stance on tattoos. I also knew their stance on all things they deemed inappropriate and as an adult I did what I wanted. It's not about the barbie and more about making things for all people. I personally am a fan of the fashion brand tokidoki which is alternative in nature so the doll appeals to me as a 24 year old woman. If I have a child… they'll see my tattoos.

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  13. This is the way of Barbie trying to keep up with the new brands such as Bratz. I think it's okay that there is a Tattoo Barbie, they have always made barbies that represented groups, professions, events, etc.
    But even though I think it's okay that there is a tattooed Barbie, I just don't get the tattoos placement, the chest doesn't even appear with the clothes the barbie is wearing and chest and neck are far from being the most common part being tattooed. Why didn't they put them on the arms, legs or feet?
    Anyway, I don't like the clothes and the stupid costume on the dog.
    My recent post

  14. I think by Barbie coming out with a tattoo'd version of herself, then it's redefining the new 'normal' for women.
    Do you remember when the first Barbie came out where her ears were pierced? Even further, do you remember when you could change out her earrings? Having earrings, tattoos, short hair, etc just gives Barbie more variety so that little girls can chose one with whom they most identify.

    I remember when Barbie Teresa came out, she was a nurse and she was Latina, but being biracial she was the barbie who most looked like me. I played with her until she broke (lol).

    I grew up in a family where many people have tattoos (myself included), and though it's still frowned upon by the matriarch of the family, sometimes you need a little something for self expression especially when you feel silenced in other avenues.

  15. This Barbie doll is only sold online and was made and designed for adult collectors. Do your research. I have two little girls, 2 and 4, and have more important things to care about than if they played with a doll who portrays a real person!


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