We’re all a bit too old to be keeping up with what Barbie is up to these days, right? Even when we were kids, we felt like we were too old for or too cool for Barbies… yet we played with them. Girls and boys alike, we ALL played with Barbies at some point or another. Don’t you dare even try to pretend you didn’t; we know you grabbed your little sister’s Barbies and paired them up with your G. I. Joes or Rescue Heroes so that your dude toys could interact with some fine ladies. Why wouldn’t you? A doll is a doll no matter how macho or chic they’re made to be.
If you know anything about Barbies, you know that there are a lot of varieties of the doll. There are Barbies for almost every purpose and career, such as Veterinarian Barbie, Computer Engineer Barbie, and Architect Barbie. There are also now Barbies for every body type, from tall and curvy to petite and skinny. And finally, there are Barbies for every possible scenario you could imagine housing them, from Romeo and Juliet Barbie to Black Canary Barbie. There is a Barbie for pretty much everyone.
That doesn’t mean the company has always made great decisions when imagining up Barbie dolls. There are plenty out there that totally flopped, ones that have been received with disgust and criticism, and ones that were downright racist, sexist, and dangerous. Let’s review some of the worst Barbies that have ever hit the shelves. Here are 15 Barbie Dolls Only D-Bags Would Make.
15. McDonald’s Barbie
When Mattel partnered with McDonald’s to make this Barbie doll, they sent a weird message out to kids everywhere about what life is like to work in the fast-food industry. Perhaps they were trying to just make Barbie relatable: “She eats McDonald’s, just like you!” But that’s not what we got.
Barbie is not eating McDonald’s — she works there. Since she’s a grown woman working at a McDonalds, we can assume things are not going too hot for her. She’s serving up trays of McDonald’s while having to bring her baby sister, Kelly, to work, it seems, which means home life for Barbie isn’t going hot either. Where is Barbie’s mother that that makes her unable to watch her own toddler daughter? Does she have an addiction problem or some other unhealthy problem that makes her an unsuitable guardian? It’d have to be pretty drastic for a manager to allow a toddler to run around a McDonald’s kitchen. It looks like Barbie could use a hearty loan to get herself back on her feet…
14. Dishwasher Barbie
As if it weren’t bad enough that Mattel has already proven itself to be fairly racist, they’ve really done themselves in showing just how sexist they can be. This Barbie toy came with a kitchenette just for Barbie to work in. It gave her lots of dirty dishes she could play with and put inside her favorite toy: the dishwasher! Better yet, when Barbie turns the dishwasher on, she can just sit in front of it and watch all those dishes get washed! Which is perfect, because she’s not allowed to leave the kitchen anyway — what if Ken gets hungry and needs a sandwich? We can’t have that!
Nice going, Mattel. You can make Barbie an astronaut, a doctor, a politician — or a stay-at-home wife who keeps her apron on 24/7 and lives to serve her husband. That sounds like such a fun playtime for any little girl.
13. Wheelchair Barbie
Here’s another great example of Mattel trying to be inclusive in their creation of Barbies. The company thought it would be a great idea to make a wheelchair-bound doll to help remove some of the negative stigmas around handicapped and disabled people. So they made Becky, who implored all little girls to share a smile with her. It was kind of a weird message to send — as if we should be pitying handicapped people out of obligation. But that’s not the worst part about this doll. A seventeen-year-old who bought the doll (a bit old for Barbies, in our opinion, but whatever) went to Mattel saying that the wheelchair wasn’t able to fit in Barbie’s dream house… so Mattel made a handicapped doll with a pitiful slogan that can’t go anywhere because none of their dollhouses were handicap-accessible. Dear Lord. Mattel said they’d fix the issue but wow — couldn’t they have considered that issue before offending a large portion of the population?
12. Oreo Barbie
WOW. JUST WOW.
Mattel likes to partner up with other corporations when making Barbie dolls. It takes some of the strain off of their creative team to think up new, unique, and clearly sometimes weird doll themes. Plus, they get a sizable check from their partnering company. That’s why they made Oreo Barbie, a doll who clearly has an obsession with and an addiction to Oreos. But the biggest problem here isn’t that she’s an Oreo addict — it’s that they made the doll Black.
Don’t get us wrong! Mattel needs to make more Barbies of color, but to make one of the few Black Barbies an OREO BARBIE?! In urban slang (you know, how those youths talk), an Oreo is someone who is “black on the outside, but white on the inside.” And Mattel literally made a Barbie doll for Oreo that is an Oreo! We’re just going to walk away from this one and pretend Mattel never made it…
11. The Birds Barbie
We get it — sometimes kids want Barbie dolls that have been modeled after characters from their favorite movies. That’s why there are very popular Elsa Barbies (from Frozen), and even Bella Barbies (from Twilight), but this one has got us tripping up a little bit. Whose idea was it to model a Barbie doll off of Tippi Hedren’s role in the famous Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Birds?! What young child playing with dolls was even allowed to see this movie in the first place, and why would they want a doll version of the hot young ingenue getting attacked by crows?! This Barbie has a crow permanently lodged in her hair! What imaginary worlds are your kids living in that makes this a good addition to their collection?! If this is the way Mattel is leaning, we’ll soon have an “Annabelle Barbie,” a “Creepy-Girl-From-The Ring Barbie,” and a “Bleeding in the Shower After Norman Bates Stabbed Her-Barbie.”
10. Haunted Beauty Ghost Barbie
Okay, um… alright, maybe we could have gotten on board with this Barbie if we only knew the name. “Haunted Beauty Ghost Barbie…” Okay, so like a pretty ghost? Plenty of kids want to dress up as ghosts for Halloween, so maybe we can get on board with it if it’s for a Halloween release… until, that is, we see the design and costuming for this Barbie. Then we are jumping ship and not dealing with this sh*t.
This Barbie doll looks like the ghost in The Haunting that wants to kill everyone who’s ever stepped in her hellish haunted home. She’s got chains wrapped around her, like the freaking ghost of Marley in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol! You know what that means, right?! That Barbie was a horrible, hateful, mean, evil person in life and she’s forged a chain that’s weighing her down in purgatory, keeping her from rising to heaven. BARBIE IS IN PURGATORY AND WE’RE PUTTING HER HAUNTED DOLL IN OUR CHILDREN’S ROOMS.
9. Mexican Barbie
Well, this sh*t isn’t racist at all.
Mattel wanted to start an initiative to be more inclusive since they are, after all, selling their toys to children of all races and cultural backgrounds. So they started a line of Barbies called “Dolls of the World.” And they kicked it off with this racist crap: a Mexican Barbie wearing a hot pink fiesta dress, carrying around a little Chihuahua and a hot pink passport. Needless to say, this shit was not received well. They pulled the Barbie and re-released her in a Mariachi outfit- which was not at all better, really. They’re still feeding children this idea that all Mexican people listen to Mariachi music and have little Chihuahuas and wear vibrant, loud colors — HOW STRANGE AND EXOTIC THEIR CULTURE MUST BE! We gave up on trying to change Mattel’s vanilla, simple-minded, xenophobic ideology of what it is to be Mexican.
8. Slumber Party Barbie
Alright, the concept of a Slumber Party Barbie is not at all a weird concept. All little kids have slumber parties, and they’re kind of one of the mini highlights of our youth. Slumber parties aren’t the problem with this toy. The problem lies with what came with this Barbie doll.
When you purchase a themed Barbie, they usually come with accessories. This Slumber Party Barbie came with many, including a matching pajama set, a fluffy bathrobe, slippers, hair curlers, a comb… and a weighing scale? Not something we typically brought to sleepovers. What’s weird is that the scale is permanently set to 110 pounds, which would be thirty-five pounds underweight for a human of Barbie’s height and age. She also brings with her a dieting book which boldly says on the back, “DON’T EAT!” Wow… a Barbie that encourages taking your anorexic dieting tips to your friend’s houses so you can get all your friends on your diet plan of eating one almond a day…
7. Marie Antoinette Barbie
HA. If you can’t find the humor in this Barbie doll, you clearly need to brush up on your European history.
This historic Barbie doll was modeled after Marie Antoinette, who was of Austrian descent and married into the French monarchy at a very ill-fated time. She married King Louis XVI and was queen for a short while preceding the French revolution. She was a very spoiled and entitled woman, who took advantage of French artisans, inspired rumors of promiscuity and infidelity, and had little empathy for the plight of the commoner. Her most famous line is known even by those who don’t know her: “Let them eat cake” (which, actually, is often taken out of context, and she may not have even said it). So they fashioned a Barbie out of a monarch who was so hated she was killed on the chopping block. HM. All little girls should want to grow up to be like her!
6. Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Barbie
We all know that Sports Illustrated is not really about sports. Or rather, that’s not typically why large male audiences are interested in buying it. The most popular edition of Sports Illustrated that’s sold every year is their swimsuit edition, where women are posing in bikinis (sometimes) on the beach for the purpose of… well, for the purpose of having a sexy spread without being primarily known as a sex-oriented periodical. So why do we have Barbie on the cover of a Sports Illustrated magazine? Are we trying to tell our daughters that their greatest aspirations should lie in wanting to be like Kate Upton, Chrissy Teigen, and Tyra Banks: shallow, superficial, and artificial? That their value lies in how they look with little clothing on? Mattel professes that they released the Barbie to show how she’s confident and owns herself and her body — okay, Mattel, sure. Whatever you have to tell yourself to sleep at night.
5. Goddess of the Galaxy Barbie
First of all, there’s a Barbie Collector Magazine. People, adult-sized people, subscribe to and pay for catalogs of Barbies that they then collect. Let’s just all take a moment to soak in that bit of horribly distressing information…
What child would want this Barbie doll for innocent, child’s-play reasons? If your kids reached for this doll on the shelf, they’ve likely got some premature fetishes developing, or you’ve let them watch way too many adult movies. This Goddess of the Galaxy Barbie looks like she’s fresh out of the pseudo-pornographic sci-fi film Barbarella. She looks like a modern-day gender-bent casting of General Zod (you know, if Zod were a chick with a BDSM fetish and didn’t like to wear pants). What weird, imaginary scenarios are taking place in your children’s play that this Barbie character would need to be present? Maybe you should be checking in with your kids more…
4. The Raider Barbie
WHO IN GOD’S NAME THOUGHT THAT THIS BARBIE WAS A GOOD IDEA? Even better question: how high was the creative staff when someone decided to pitch the idea for this Barbie, and EVERYONE SAID YES?!
The Raider is a book by Jude Deveraux, who specializes in writing romance novels. And Mattel thought it’d be cute to make Barbie dolls modeled after her main characters. But here’s the thing: Judy here doesn’t write romance novels like Nicholas Sparks or Sophie Kinsella — she writes romance novels like 50 Shades of Grey, only more hardcore. Let’s just read a quote from the book, and why don’t you tell us if you think this is Barbie material, hm?
“He kissed her again. ‘You have a choice. We make love tonight on the soft cool sand or I rape you tonight on the sharp rocks.'”
3. Betty Draper Barbie
Ah, perfect! A Barbie doll fit for all of the juvenile fans of Mad Men, those who watched the series devoutly and came to love all of the main characters for all of their faults and flaws.
Except, wait… oh, yeah… NO YOUNG CHILDREN SHOULD HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO WATCH MAD MEN. We understand that sometimes the show had some unique points and was even able to give perspective on some of the biggest cultural and civil events in the last 100 years of United States history (like the Kennedy assassination, or the work of Martin Luther King Jr.), but that does not mean that any children should have been allowed to watch it. Furthermore, Betty Draper is by no stretch of the imagination an icon, heroine, or role model. She was written to show just how disillusioned and disappointing the life of a woman in the 1960s could be even if she appeared to be the vision of happiness and contentment.
2. Hello Barbie
Well, hello to you as well, Barbie. Shall we dive in and explain to these good readers just how messed up and weird you are?
Hello Barbie is actually a new toy that is currently available for purchase. It’s one of Mattel’s latest innovative designs, and they’re very proud of it. Why? Because it allows them to collect data on their customers without ever explicitly asking permission or bringing kids in for a focus group.
This Barbie doll will ask your kids a question and, when the kid answers, those responses are beamed up to the Barbie cloud where they just sit waiting for the Mattel research and development team to listen to your kids and make Barbie dolls based on their replies. It’s very innovative… but also way creepy. We now have corporations sitting in our kids’ toy boxes, waiting to take their private information and turn it into a product catered directly to them.
1. Barbie Video Girl
This was another clever innovation of Mattel’s from not too long ago. They were so excited that they could offer small children the same everyday technology that their parents had on their cell phones: a video camera directly inside of Barbie. In Barbie’s necklace (which really just looked like an empty cavity in her chest, as if Tony Stark needed to make her an artificial heart), there’s a tiny camera lens that kids could use to take videos. They could then watch the playback on a tiny LCD screen on Barbie’s back. Cool, right? Wrong.
The FBI had a serious talk with Mattel. They were worried that the Barbie dolls would become prime accessories in cases of child pornography. Mattel was shocked and embarrassed that they’d never considered those possibilities, and the dolls were pulled. But who knows how many horror stories happened before the FBI got on Mattel’s case?