August 21, 2014

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On the Other Hand — No badges for Barbie PDF Print
Saturday, March 08, 2014 9:00 PM

If some have their way, there will be no more camping badges, no more cooking badges, no more first aid badges, no more citizenship badges — for Barbie anyway.

Two advocacy groups — the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for a New American Dream — have urged the Girl Scouts of the USA to end its partnership with the Mattel toy company.

The Girl Scouts’ national headquarters in New York rejected the groups’ appeal and issued this statement:

“Our partnership with Mattel focuses on career exploration and teaches girls about inspiring women in a fun way. We stand behind this partnership, as it helps us bring to over 2 million Girl Scouts the message that they can do anything.”

That’s the essence of the Barbie uniform patch — a bright pink oval with a gold-letter slogan stitched on it: “Be anything. Do everything.”

The partnership includes a Barbie-themed activity book, a website and a Barbie participation patch — the first Girl Scout uniform patch with corporate sponsorship.

Barbie — still looking great after 55 years — has forged through 150 different careers and she riled critics again in February by posing along with real-life supermodels in Sports Illustrated’s 50th anniversary swimsuit issue. Mattel promoted the campaign with the catchword “unapologetic.”

Other critics say the Barbie patch is too easily obtained and the tradeoff for the free advertising is lopsided.

I gotta tell you, I don’t have a dog in this fight. I don’t particularly care one way or the other.

Barbie’s been around for a long and time and quite frankly, I’m surprised she hasn’t become a Girl Scout sooner.

And why is everyone giving Barbie a hard time? I smell reverse discrimination. Perhaps Barbie should file a suit to recoup something for the emotional stress of being told she’s too perfect, or too skinny, or too buxom or too whatever. What’s a girl to do?

Sometimes I think we “over”think things. Does everything have to have some deep meaning? Can’t anything be, well, what it is? Barbie is a Girl Scout. Barbie wanted to be a Girl Scout and no one has been able tell Barbie she has limitations on her dreams so far.

Should Girl Scouts be running around with Barbie badges promoting an American icon? Maybe not but I’m all about promoting Barbie’s essence of the freedom to be who you want to be.

I played with Barbies and had the Barbie mini-van and the Barbie pool and Barbie this and that. Am I scarred or resentful or emotionally damaged because she was 36-24-36 and never wore sweats or had a hair out of place unless my brother got a hold of her? No.

Am I upset because after 40 years she still looks as fresh and young as she did when we first met? Maybe but that’s my problem - not hers.

 

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