Guys, you may want to be extra careful about where you read your copy of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue this year. It will contain a double-helping of grist for feminist outrage this time around, as Barbie, that icon of feminine pulchritude and academic rigor (“Math class is tough. Let’s go shopping!”) struts her stuff alongside the human models.
Toy maker Mattel will pepper the issue with ads dominated by photos of the doll sporting the form-fitting onesie she wore in her retail debut more than 50 years ago, along with the tagline “unapologetic.”
Mattel has been criticized from various quarters for decades for allegedly promoting unrealistic ideals of the female form via Barbie. The toy maker says it’s time to fight back.
“As a legend herself, and under criticism about her body and how she looks, posing in ‘Sports Illustrated Swimsuit’ gives Barbie and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are, celebrate what they have done, and be unapologetic,” a Mattel representative told Ad Age.
The swimsuit issue will hit news stands February 18th, around the same time Mattel will adorn toy store shelves with a new “SI Swimsuit Edition” Barbie.
Meanwhile, enjoy the tongue-in-cheek BTS video above, in which photographer Walter Iooss explains what makes Barbie a perfect model. “You know, when Barbie starts a pose, she can hold it forever. As a matter of fact, she’s still holding the pose.”
(via Ad Age)