EL SEGUNDO, Ca - In a not-so-surprising move, Mattel executives unanimously rejected their marketing department's latest submission: Suicide Bomber Barbie. "This would surely become a political hot-potato," explained June Cabrini, Executive Production Manager, "and that's not the sort of thing Mattel wants to get involved with."
Mattel's Barbie line has evolved significantly since the first Barbie hit store shelves in 1959. Barbie, with her exaggerated female physique, along with companions Ken, Skipper and others, have entertained children and collectors since day one. Barbie has been everything from a mother, a tour guide, flight attendant, doctor, teacher - she's done it all. Barbie has kept pace with society and its view of women; specifically American women. Her accessories have changed from frivolous and domestic roles to serious career roles as society's views have matured.
Only recently has her unrealistically perfect physique been redesigned to more closely resemble the human form. Many argue that Barbie is still an unrealistic female stereotype that causes young girls to starve themselves to attain this level of perfection. The large-bosomed, tiny-waisted doll has been blamed for everything from bulimia to breast augmentation.
"I designed this latest Barbie iteration to draw attention to the Palestinian plight," Marketing Director Daisy Garcia told reporters. "When you watch the news, you always hear of male suicide bombers. Why not a woman? It's discrimination, I think. If a man can blow himself up, then so can a women - and why not Barbie?"
Suicide Bomber Barbie sports patent black knee-boots, a black and olive-drab miniskirt and halter top, somewhat resembling a flack-jacket, and, of course, explosives. The incendiary toy has strapped around her middle what appears to be about two dozen sticks of dynamite and a detonator in her right hand. "This Barbie is dressed for success and armed for Israeli bear," Garcia added. "Even G.I. Joe would think twice before trying to pick up this blonde bombshell."
In recent years, several artists, in an attempt to draw attention to their particular cause, have used Barbie as a medium. Mattel's blonde icon has been dressed in army fatigues, painted black, burned, dismembered and even placed in sexual situations, all in the name of art. "Politically incorrect versions of Barbie have been floating around the internet for years," said Cabrini. "If you've never heard of Trailer Park Barbie, you're probably living under a rock." Cabrini indicated that none of these versions of Barbie were sanctioned by the Mattel Corporation.
"Our goal for the Barbie line is to show young girls that they can be successful. Barbie represents every young girl, and empowers them to become doctors, veterinarians, teachers or any other of number of respectable careers. A suicide bomber is by no means a career goal that the Mattel Corporation wants any young girl to espouse," continued Cabrini. "Aside from the political pitfalls, we just don't want little girls aspiring to blow themselves up. That's just not a good career goal."
Suicide Bomber Barbie was almost Mattel's first political statement, but management chose to maintain the corporation apolitical position, at least for now. Daisy Garcia has more ideas, though, and says she won't stop trying. "I believe," said Garcia, "that Barbie can be the ambassador to speak for so many issues going on in the world. I'm currently working on an Abu Ghraib Barbie, but I'm not going to spill the beans until I've got the bugs worked out."
"I was really hoping that Suicide Bomber Barbie would be the first," Garcia concluded.