• Thu, Mar 6 - 2:30 pm ET

It’s Pathetic That Mattel Is Trying To Turn Girl Scouts Into Walking Advertisements For Barbie

girl scouts barbieBarbie is causing some controversy again. The logo of the world’s most famous doll is showing up on a Girls Scout patch, and some consumer advocacy groups are not happy about it. It’s pretty ridiculous that the Girl Scouts are basically selling ad space on their young members in the form of a Barbie patch.

From USA Today:

“Holding Barbie, the quintessential fashion doll, up as a role model for Girl Scouts simultaneously sexualizes young girls, idealizes an impossible body type and undermines the Girl Scouts’ vital mission,” says Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. Another consumer group, Center for a New American Dream, is joining in the protest.

I ultimately feel Barbie is just a doll – an inanimate figure that possesses the characteristics we give her. When I was a kid, mine was a badass. She totally wore the pants in her relationship with Ken, managed a hair salon, and jumped into her purple Barbie corvette Dukes-Of-Hazzard style. I just really believe the work we are doing with young women – emphasizing the importance of positive body image, breaking down gender stereotypes and really pushing them to realize that they are not limited by their sex – may not be served best by Barbie. No offense Barbie – but I’m with the advocacy groups. The partnership doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me. But the most offensive thing about it all is the fact that the badge would turn a scout into a walking corporate ad. Not good.

I imagine the Girl Scouts agreed to it for the money. While they won’t disclose the amount – I don’t think a precedent should be set that organizations that exist to boost up young girls are selling ad space on their bodies. If Mattel wants to support the Girl Scouts – fine. But don’t make our daughters your billboards via their Girl Scout uniforms.

For the two consumer groups, the core issue is the commercialization of childhood. In an Internet age, kids already are riddled with commercial messaging all over Web pages, blogs and Facebook pages. But a growing number of marketers, eager to reach into the moments that most touch us and influence our daily lives, increasingly are blurring the lines between real life and commercialism.

Corporations like Mattel should be invested in donating money to help organizations like the Girl Scouts. But should we make it the norm that such companies can expect a badge on a Girl Scout uniform? I say no.

“It is particularly troubling that the youngest scouts are encouraged to wear a Barbie patch on their uniforms, transforming them into walking advertisements,” says Linn. “While Mattel and the Barbie brand benefit enormously from the Girl Scouts’ endorsement, the partnership harms girls.”

I’m with the advocacy groups. Corporate logos have no place on a Girl Scout uniform.

(photo: Girl Scouts.org)

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  • Kendra

    Does Barbie really even NEED advertisement at this point?

    • Crusty Socks

      I think Mattel is trying to work on Barbie’s image. It’s been taking a beating by bloggers like Eve and Maria, as well as other advocacy groups.

      I think Mattel was hoping for some positive feedback… probably not gonna find any on M’ish, but may find some in other outlets.

      But I agree, other than the rare few, I’m sure most Scouts have $200+ collection of Barbies at home.

    • Shelly Lloyd

      A lot of the girls in my service unit did love the Barbie badge. The older girls were like “Meh.” I kind of think that some of moms and leaders feel that the blog world is making a tempest in a tea-pot over it.

    • Rachel Sea

      Very much so. Plenty of people are disenchanted with the line. Putting their logo literally under girls’ noses, and affiliating the name with a group to which they already belong is a great strategy to get kids to nag their parents into buying Barbies.

  • Natasha B

    I’m not upset at Mattel, they’re a business. Their purpose is to advertise. Barbie doesn’t bother me. It’s how you teach your son or daughter to play with it that matters.
    It’s that the GS council passed this that bothers me. It’s bad enough how little money each troop actually gets from cookie sales, yet our kids are out there pushing it. And that they chose Selena Gomez as a role model for our girls 2 years ago. Seriously?! GS has gone so downhill. We pulled our daughter out midway through her second brownie year, couldn’t handle the BS anymore. Gross.

  • Shelly Lloyd

    I have heard about it. And I’m not happy with it. I believe this will be my last year with Girl Scouts. Not because of this. I am having some heath issues that I have to deal with, plus my son turns 18 this year and we have to apply to be legal guardians for him. And it’s just to much stress to handle the service unit. The other day I had one of my leaders e-mail me at the very last minute to tell me that she lost all of her cookie paper work. ALL OF IT. She just expected me to pull her shit out of the fire at the last minute. I told her I was going to forward her e-mail to council. But hearing about G.S pairing up with Barbie makes leaving a lot easier for me.

  • Williwaw

    What’s next, a Girl Scout Coca-Cola badge? Maybe a Monsanto badge?

    • Shelly Lloyd

      Now, I wouldn’t mind a Girl Scout Coca-Cola badge. The Atlanta Girl Scout council may have a local history Coca-Cola badge since–but I really don’t know since I have never visited their council. But a lot of councils will have badges that will reflect important local events or history of the local area. So it would not surprise me if they do.

  • C.J.

    If Mattel sponsored the Girl Scouts and they accepted the money their logo should be displayed. My kids non-profit dance team has sponsors, their logo’s are displayed. Sponsors expect to be advertised. We can’t accept a sponsorship and not advertise it. We wouldn’t get any sponsors if we did that.

  • anon

    I gave up on GS with the last switch to “leadership” and a program that emphasizes cookies sales as roughly 1/3 of the program. The REAL problem GS face is the more they try to make themselves attractive to everyone, the more they chase off their core users. Just another step to GS oblivion, which makes me very sad.

    • Natasha B

      Yes, exactly. Makes me so sad. I was in GS as a girl, so much fun and awesome stuff we did. My girls’ troop big thing before I pulled her out? Saving their cookie money for build a bear. ‘Eye roll’.

  • PluribusUnum

    This “badge” is ridiculous and confirms all the worst stereotypes about Girl Scouts. As the dad of two young girls, I don’t know whether to be appalled or amused by the notion that they can “earn” this badge by doodling and then become billboards for Mattel. I agree with Natasha B that it’s not Mattel’s fault — what company wouldn’t want to make money this way? But what exactly were the Girl Scouts thinking?

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