Barbie. The feminist’s nemesis, long-accused of playing a role in—or at least failing to combat—the hyper-sexualisation and prevalence of body image issues among young girls; a toy that encourages children to buy into gender stereotypes. There’s been a princess Barbie; a bride Barbie; a rather controversial Barbie wearing a leather leotard and fishnets; even a talking Barbie who, in 1992, declared that, “Math class is tough” and “Meet me at the mall!”
But there’s more to Barbie than a shopaholic bride: she has now had 150 different careers, including presidential candidate (above, second left) and astronaut (above, far right). Latest to join the party is Entrepreneur Barbie, launched this week with the billboard pictured above, a LinkedIn profile and hashtag, #unapologetic. Some commentators have lauded this as a step in the right direction for Barbie-makers Mattel. I’m not so sure, since I’ve spotted a few problems with the high-flying Barbies featured in their advert.