Does Barbie Need a 21st Century Makeover?

Does Mattel own rehab centers around the country for anorexic or bulimic girls?  Is the company run  by men who find it sacrilegious to put out a toy doll that actually conforms to a young woman’s true body specifications?   The photo above is of woman’s international football  great Birgit Prinz.  She plays for the professional team of FFC Frankfurt in Germany and she is the leading scorer for Women’s World Cup.

In addition to numerous honors – Women’s Football Player of the Year 2002, 2004 and World’s Women’s Football Player of the year 2003, 2004, Prinz is a physical therapist AND she is the only woman currently that has the possibility of breaking Mia Hamm’s record of 158 international goals.

This month, Mattel unveiled the Birgit Prinz Barbie, a one-of-a-kind doll presented at the Nuremberg Toy Fair. According to The Local,  “The doll [is] modeled after record-breaking Prinz…” who is a healthy 5’10” 163 pounds.  I’m not sure what kind of power the Birgit Prinz Barbie has in those thread-like, chicken legs, but I doubt they would set records.

Prinz did not accept the doll in person, instead Team Manager, Doris Fitschen, accepted citing illness on the striker’s part.  Something tells me that Prinz was not so thrilled with the “honor,” or perhaps it’s just my wishful thinking.  I’m hoping Prinz is taking a proactive stance against unattainable body images that litter a girl’s entertainment spectrum daily.

Sales of Barbie have dropped over the past several years with the exception of last quarter when Mattel announced an increase in sales of 9 percent over the 4th quarter 2009.  In 2009, West Virginia State Legislator Jeff Eldridge proposed a bill to ban Barbies, saying it put too much undue influence on girl’s intellectual and emotional development.

For their part, Mattel is playing dumb.  During the presentation to Fitschen, Mattel’s Publicist, Stephanie Wegener, said that Prinz was an ambassador of the sport “and role model for countless girls and women.”  Too bad Mattel can’t say the same about Barbie.

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