Looking at the images of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition launch party that was held last night in New York City for the release of the 50th anniversary issue I can’t help but feel that my initial concern over using Barbie for the cover-wrap and in the four page advertorial inside the magazine was justified.
Barbie, who many of us parents know as a toy our kids love to play with has now graced the cover wrap of a men’s magazine that showcases beautiful and heavily photoshopped models in provocative poses wearing swimsuits, body paint, and in some cases, nothing. There is nothing wrong with the female body or beautiful women or adults admiring these things, but adding a child’s plaything, and an amazingly iconic one like Barbie, to the mix has taken this toy and shoved it into a world of grownup sexuality and soft-porn, heavily-filtered, lip glossed and silicone masturbation material.
Because that’s what the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is. Don’t kid yourself. People don’t purchase this edition of the magazine because it showcases strong female athletes and discusses their athletic prowess and how they became the best in their respective sports. People don’t purchase this edition of this magazine because it informs them about the models who pose legs splayed in its pages and what they did to become some of the most beautiful women in the world.
They buy it because it gives them boners. Because it’s titillating. Because it’s hot and sexy models in beautiful locations wearing next to nothing and providing the world a chance to gaze upon their beauty and reveal in their sexiness.
And now your daughter’s toy, that she dresses, that she lugs with when you go out to eat , that she kisses and sleeps with and creates stories with and has all sorts of playtime adventures with is next to these women, these hot, sexual, scantily attired and provocatively posed women and I’m sorry, I’m amazingly #unapologetic at how pissed off this makes me.
My kid, your kid, may never see this magazine. They may never know of its existence. But as parents, and as consumers, we do see it, and we know about it, and if you aren’t creeped out by the fact a TOY YOUR OWN DAUGHTER PROBABLY ADORES is placed in the pages of what is basically a masturbation magazine I can’t change your mind. If you can’t see how problematic this is, not only to women and to young girls, and what a huge disservice this is to our kids and the tremendous problem of the sexualization of children, I can’t change your mind. This whole Barbie fiasco is basically spitting in the face of the notion of protecting the innocence of children who at Barbie playing age have no business even being exposed to the idea of adults using magazines to get off on.
Because that’s what the Sports illustrated Swimsuit edition is.
And now your kid’s toy is in it.
This is wrong, and I’m totally #unapologetic about wanting to toss all my kid’s Barbies on the BBQ. I wonder if Mattel considers I might not be the only mom who doesn’t want to consider eyes roaming from one beautiful women in a bikini to my kid’s doll wearing a bathing suit.
Barbie belongs to MY kid. I have purchased many Barbies in my life time, and she wasn’t supposed to be used in this way. Barbie doesn’t belong to adults who want to look at beautiful women wearing swimsuits. Barbie sleeps next to my daughter and gets held and hugged and played with. Barbie was for little kids, and little girls especially. Mattel and Sports Illustrated have taken her away from our kids. It isn’t hysterical for me to be offended by this. This has nothing to do with whether or not I feel Barbie is a good role model for my daughter and her own developing body image. All this has to do is with a TOY being placed in an adult publication, a place that is for adults, and for adult consumers. Barbie doesn’t belong there. And until this happened, she belonged in my daughter’s toy box. But guess what? You can have her.