Even dolls have to redefine their images sometimes too, apparently. That’s why Mattel partnered with Sports Illustrated to feature Barbie in the magazine’s annual swimsuit issue this year.
Barbie wears a black-and-white striped one-piece, the same swimsuit she wore back in 1959 when she made her debut, in the spread. But it’s not just a photo spread: Mattel is pushing a campaign about Barbie with the theme being “unapologetic.” So Barbie is the opposite of Shia LaBeouf this week then.
“As a legend herself, and under constant criticism about her body and how she looks, posing in [the issue] gives Barbie and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are, celebrate what they have done and be #unapologetic,” Mattel said in a statement to the New York Times. Poor Barbie, always getting picked apart by those darned critics!
The “#unapologetic” campaign could be great, but the fact that Barbie is its spokeperson is kind of uh… counter-intuitive. It’s easy for Barbie, a plastic doll whose “body was never designed to be realistic,” to say that she’s unapologetic about the way she looks. It makes even less sense that this campaign is debuting in conjunction with the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, which is well-known for featuring near-naked women with “perfect” bodies. If you want to help women with body image issues, try showcasing a variety of bodies in the swimsuit issue instead of the only the standard skinny-girls-with-big-boobs, and don’t use Barbie– famous for setting unrealistic body expectations for girls– as your example of someone “unapologetic” about their appearance.
But if you’re into seeing some high-quality photos of the plastic star, the issue featuring Barbie in the “Legends” section hits stands February 18.