Barbie’s tattoos cause media frenzy, alleged parental outrage

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Barbie has tattoos?

The Internet is abuzz with the news that a recently released Barbie designed by the L.A.-based Tokidoki brand comes complete with a pale pink bob, stacked bracelets, an annoyed-looking pet named Bastardino (seriously) and, oh yeah, a ton of tattoos on her neck and shoulders.

Media outlets such as U.S. News & World Report and The Telegraph have suggested (with meager evidence) parents are outraged that Barbie has been tattooed. And on television, concerns about the doll’s new ink and its impact on children have been raised on the ‘Today’ show, ‘Good Morning America’ and CNN.


But here in L.A., the folks at the Tokidoki offices are shaking their heads in wonderment at the media frenzy and fielding phone calls in amusement.

It’s a lot of fuss over a $50 doll that has been marked ‘For adult collectors only,’ they say.

‘The doll was meant for adult collectors. Only 7,400 were made; it’s only available online,’ a spokesperson for Tokidoki told The Times. ‘It’s not like your kid is going to pick this up at Target.’

The Tokidoki Barbie, which became available for sale Oct. 6, is just one of a series of collaborations that Mattel has done with designers over the years. On Mattel’s Barbie Collector website, buyers can purchase a Barbie clad in a full leather cat suit designed by Christian Louboutin ($150), and a Countess Dracula Barbie with a deep-V dress that descends to below where her belly button would be, designed by Bob Mackie ($150).

Also, this is not the first time Barbie’s smooth plastic skin has been adorned with some ink. In 2009, Mattel released Totally Stylin’ Tattoos Barbie, which came with 40 small tattoo stickers that could be placed on the doll. And when Mattel collaborated on a Barbie with Harley Davidson in 2008, the motorcycle company gave her a giant pair of wings tattooed on her back.

In a statement, Tokidoki designer Simone Legno said he thought the collaboration went well. ‘I was happy to design something so very tokidoki® for the Mattel customer and still stay true to who we are, crossing that branded bridge,’ he said.


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--Deborah Netburn