Barbie Makes the Cover of Sports Illustrated

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Barbie is unapologetic, or so says the marketing minds at Mattel, the makers of Barbie, and Sports Illustrated. The upcoming Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue features Barbie on the front cover of 1,000 limited-edition copies. To boot, Mattel is making a limited-edition Sports Illustrated Barbie. Call me crazy, but who are they marketing to?

The campaign pushes the idea of being unapologetic for being Barbie, which I guess means being a doll with ridiculously impossible proportions for a body. But I don’t know many little girls or boys who pick up Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue, and I don’t think many little girls (or boys) care if there’s a limited edition Sports Illustrated Barbie doll, so this one is clearly a marketing tool for adults, but I just don’t get it.

Of course controversy is brewing over the cover and what it suggests about body image. I guess they are suggesting that models should also be unapologetic if they have completely unrealistic body proporitions, and Sports Illustrated should be unapologetic about all the airbrushing it does to make the models look so stunning in those barely-there swimsuits.

It certainly doesn’t help young girls or any woman feel great, but I don’t really think any woman is trying to compare herself to Barbie and I hope the mommas of the world teach their little girls to love themselves for more than long locks and long legs. 

If you care, Target is selling the limited-edition Barbies. Personally I think this a really weird attempt to get people to buy more Barbies and more Sports Illustrated copies. Were either of these companies hurting for sales? If you have better insight into how this campaign works to help anybody, please share.