So Barbie Has Tattoos — What’s The Big Deal?

If you haven’t heard, there’s a new Barbie on the shelves and she has pink hair and tattoos. The limited edition doll has been designed by Tokidoki for Mattel, running for about $50. Collectors are already scrambling for the new Barbie, but parents are apparently livid about her new look.

Daily Mail reports that mothers online are concerned about what Barbie and her body art are suggesting to kids:

One commenter, on the Ms Twixt website for parents of Tween-age girls, wrote: ‘Encouraging children that tattoos are cool is wrong, wrong, wrong. Mattel why not put a cigarette and a beer bottle in her hand while you’re at it!’

Another wrote on the same website:

I think it is horrible and sends the wrong message to young people. In no way should a tattoo be honored. It is a lifetime brand which will fade and droop over time as the skin ages.’

I agree that since the doll is marketed towards children, what the doll represents and details on her person should be of the utmost concern to parents. But equating body art with smoking cigarettes and alcohol consumption assumes a lot about who precisely is getting tattoos these days.

Personally, I don’t have any tattoos and I don’t want any. But I know enough people who have them to know that they aren’t all alcoholic floozies who chain smoke. Plenty of people with tattoos maintain healthy lifestyles, go to college, pursue careers, and become dedicated parents. (I’m clearly not talking about Miley Cyrus or Lindsay Lohan here.) And while not all professions are permissive of tattoos, there is nothing about the expression that prohibits young people from applying themselves to their education, being kind to others, or respecting their health  — provided that they get such a tattoo in safe, clean environments.

In no way do I think tattoos should be made available to kids under 18 and I’m often disappointed to see really young teenagers with them. But telling kids that the “only people” who get tattoos are cigarette-addicted booze hounds sells them a bill of goods that undermines the many lovely tattooed-folk they have yet to meet.


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  • Eve

    I am a blithering Tokidoki fan and I love this Barbie so much. I would get her for my kid but at the $50 price point would probably make my daughter keep her in the box and what fun is that?!

  • CW

    Compared to all the slutty-looking dolls out there (Bratz, Moxie, Monster High, etc.), I’d take a tattooed Barbie any day of the week!

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  • Sara

    That’s a barbie for a collector, not for a kid. Hense the $50 price tag

  • LoveyDovey

    Yeah, that’d be a doll for me, not for my kid.

    And the tattoos don’t bother me. Then again, not only do I have a few of my own, my husband has some, and I live on a military post- it’s odd to NOT see them on people, wives included!

  • Jen

    At least this Barbie is wearing clothes that don’t make me blush. A family friend bought my 3 year old one of the “I Can Be” Preschool teacher Barbies for her birthday. The doll’s skirt is so short that you can see her (anatomically missing) business when you sit her at the teacher’s desk and she has what would be at least 4 1/2 inch heels on. I guess the point is that if you are buying Barbies for your daughters they are generally not looking the way you would want her to, and at least this Barbie looks cute and sassy as opposed to seconds away from a serious wardrobe malfunction.

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  • Michelle

    Oh please, Barbie’s been getting crap for YEARS. If you are a parent and don’t want your kid to play with it, DON’T BUY IT. I played with Barbie Dolls when I was a little girl. To me, she was nothing more than a doll, to be played with. It’s called using your imagination. I made her a Mommy, a farmer, a cheerleader, etc. I recember making clothes for mine, it was fun. Would I buy this particular Barbie for my child, no, I wouldn’t. But there’s obviously a market for it, and all the rest of them as well. Bottom line remains: Teach your children right from wrong, teach them to respect their bodies, give them all the love and support and nurturing they need, be a good role model, and then trust them to make their own decisions. Keep loving them even when they make mistakes. Because they WILL make mistakes.

    • Lisa

      Oh, I agree! I’ll be honest, any and all body issues that I may have had were definitely not a result of playing with Barbie. As you said, Barbie was a DOLL for my friends and I. A doll that had many many careers and just happened to have some fantastic clothes (and some not so fantastic clothes made by us). I think we would have been more screwed up if we had watched our moms freak out about their bodies.

  • Rebekah

    This particular Barbie is a Gold Label Barbie that is sold on Mattel’s Barbie Collector website. Mattel intended this doll to be for the adult collector, not as a play doll for kids.

  • Brittney America

    Even if this doll is meant for collectors I would totally buy it for my child. I see nothing wrong with tattoos and pink hair… i actually want this haha

  • Melissa Capo

    As a tattoo artists I hate even being ask to tattoo minors! I won’t do it! I don’t even like to tattoo 18 year old kids! Most people don’t know what they want for sure when they are that young, but some do. Also, just for the record, I have tattoos and I do not smoke. I do enjoy a beer from time to time but I in no way stay out partying all night every night! I know know straight edge folks who possess lots of tattoos! Personally, if I had a little girl, I would be more afraid to give her a Barbie because of her nearly unattainable figure. She’s a size zero waist who rocks a D cup! Plastic surgery any one? It’s terrible to train little girls (and boys with Ken) that they have to look perfect, no matter what. It’s sad really. We need to teach the younger folks that looking different is ok. No matter if you have tattoos or not, or you’re an A cup or D. Adults need to teach children to be excepting of all kinds of folks!

  • Amy

    So let me get this straight… There are parents out there that would prefer there daughters dressed in mini skirts and 4 inch heels (typical barbie) than have a tattoo?

  • Brandy

    So parents ARE worried about tattoos, but AREN’T worried about Barbie’s gigantic rack, extra-skinny body, and completely absent genitalia. I just…WUT.

  • dee

    Aw, tattooed like Mommy! My daughter needs this! Too bad it’s $50 and she’s a baby…

  • Ann

    Let this be a lesson to you: Never read the Daily Mail.

  • Sam

    I’m 22, I don’t drink, smoke, or do drugs, I work 36 hours a week, and I also have a very high GPA at a great university in writing and pre-law. I also have blue hair, several large tattoos and stretched ears, so I tend to get stereotyped as some craaazy party girl who does tons of drugs and drinks like crazy and doesn’t have a job, which really offends me. Judgmental people tend to stare (and not in the nice, fun, “oh your hair is blue!” way…more in a mean, “how dare you look like that?” sort of way) and it really hurts my feelings. It bothers me so much that people assume that tattoos and whatnot are craaaa-azy. Alcoholics and smokers come in all appearances (and in college, the majority of binge drinkers I know do not have any tattoos, non-ear piercings, or dyed hair…).

    Additionally, whenever people try to say that “tattoos will look so saggy and ugly when you’re old,” I just laugh because it’s not as though the rest of me will be 22 years old. All of my skin will be spotted and saggy…some of it will just be colored in. :)

    • Jen

      Don’t let the mean people get you down! I used to work at a beach club and the most awesome older lady was a member. She had to have been at least 75 at the time and she had two tattoos (one on an ankle and the other on her upper back. While they had definitely faded and stretched a bit with age they didn’t look bad at all AND she always had interesting stories about getting the tattoos and what they stood for!

    • Courtney Lynn

      I get that look about my ears and black clothes. Especially when I have my baby with me.

  • Dawn

    Barbie is a controversial figure, and parents are right to consider the ganglion of messages she potentially imparts to their children. That said, nothing about this particular Barbie’s style is wrong, wrong, wrong. Lots of responsible, capable and devoted parents have tattoos…and possibly candy-colored hair too. And some of us are just as offended by the proliferation of pompadoured, ballgowned, beauty queen Barbies out there. A little tolerance for style diversity could go a long way.

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  • Crys

    I like her. She used to be the american girl. Now she’s the amican girl of my generation. I will be buying her, a symble of when the world started accepting “different”
    Fyi I have a bunch of tattoos and I am not a boosing druggy. My kids love the way the look and ill be happy to take them for their first one when they are 18yr. If I had a girl id buy this doll for her.

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  • Flip12682

    I hope the parents that are complaining do not purchase any temporary tattoos for their kids…that is just another form of encouraging them. While they are at it, they may want to refrain from stickers too…because ultimately their child will put a sticker on their hand or cheek and we all know that is the “gateway” to tattoos.

    These parents are crazy…there is such a thing as sheltering your child too much…which encourages them to rebel when they get the first centimeter of freedom. Just because Barbie has a tattoo doesn’t mean little Sally will. If you are looking at Barbie to be a role model for your child I think there are more important issues to address than if Barbie is sporting ink or not!

  • monique

    i think its a cute way to express a barbie, you have everything else but you cant have a tattood barbie? might as well! some parents may not want there kids to have this doll but when they get older and they understand, its just a way of life. when they get older:)

  • Courtney Lynn

    Why are tattoos still being equated with alcohol and cigarettes? I’m tattooed with stretched ears and I don’t smoke (anymore) and I drink responsibly. For that matter, there is nothing wrong with the occasional beer, either. I’m still a dedicated wife and mom who works part time and goes to church, a functional member and contributor to society.