Okay, it's actually the new Black Canary Barbie, which is based on the character Black Canary from DC Comics. "Black Canary is noted for her martial-arts skills and her "Canary Cry" – a high powered, sonic scream with the ability to shatter objects and incapacitate villains. Among the first generation of superheroes, she was a member of the Justice Society of America, the first superhero team to appear in comic books."
Black Canary Barbie is already inspiring lots of 'S&M Barbie' type jokes. And although the doll isn't going to be released until the fall, she's also already got her very own protest. The UK based group Christian Voice said: "Barbie has always been on the tarty side and this is taking it too far. A children’s doll in sexually suggestive clothing is irresponsible — it’s filth." We do have to agree with them about one thing - the word "tarty" is really great and we're going to make an effort to use it more often.
[As an aside we have to say that the Evil Slut Clique has a bit of a history with this particular Christian group. Without going into detail, we'll just say that we're not at all surprised to see their crusade against tarts continuing.]
Now, is this group totally off base to suggest that little girls shouldn't be playing with dolls that are too "adult" or sexually suggestive? Of course not. Are there legitimate criticisms about Barbie and the lessons that she teaches to little girls? Sure, plenty of them. Am I asking myself questions and then answering them? Yes, I am. But this is a collectible Barbie, not a regular find it in the pink girly aisle at Toys 'R Us Barbie. Young girls really aren't the intended audience for this doll, collectors are. And since collectible dolls generally aren't sold in toy stores alongside the regular dolls, most little girls won't even know that the Black Canary doll exists, unless they also happen to be big DC Comics fans, or unless this protest continues to give the doll lots of free publicity. (In fairness, although we doubt this doll will be sold in most toy stores or marketed to little girls, it is available on the Toys R Us website, but with a recommended age range of '12 and up' listed. We think most 12 year olds have already been exposed to more tartiness than Barbie could ever hope to aspire to, and are also old enough to understand that the doll is a depiction of a comic book character.)
Since Christian Voice is so worried about the ways in which toys may contribute to little girls growing up too soon and being introduced to problematic adult concepts too early, we're sure that they must be equally troubled by toys that attempt to teach girls that it's really fun and enjoyable to do laundry and vacuum.
There are plenty of other dolls on BarbieCollector.com that little girls probably won't be begging for anytime soon: Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds Barbie, I Love Lucy dolls, a doll of Bert from Mary Poppins, the Kimora Lee Simmons doll, etc. And on the flip side, we're sure there are plenty of 'regular' Barbies that wear outfits that Christian Voice would deem tarty and sexually suggestive, so if they were dead set on this 'Barbie dresses too slutty for little kids' protest, they could have chosen some examples that actually supported their argument. The fact that they didn't, and instead went with this unfounded knee-jerk protest instead, makes us think that this was less about Barbie and more about any excuse to remind everyone that sluts are evil and that women's sexuality is dirty and wrong.
And after spending time on the Barbie collector site while writing this, we'll also provide you with the list of Barbies that we've now decided we want for ourselves: Barbie as Medusa, Batgirl Barbie (one of our evil sluts in training already has a Batgirl doll, but we need one for the office), and most of all, the 80s Cher doll wearing the outfit from the Turn Back Time video (aka the best music video ever).
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