Friday, October 21, 2011

Barbie Gets Inked--Tattoo Controversy Erupts

I was fascinated to read yesterday about a new Barbie version (there have been thousands over the last half century). This one has permanent tattoos, pink hair, and a doggy in a cactus suit. The article in the Salon online contains the usual parental outrage and a very nice image (left).

I don't care much about Barbie in general, growing up a straight boy, but my wife enjoys some of the special (gorgeously dressed) Barbies and has dozens of them. There are all kinds of them, so this is just Barbie reflecting her times. Many people are tattooed today, including this writer, so it's no big deal.

The only problem could be if this were to generate thousands of nine-year-old girls seeking out places to get permanently inked. The law in California says you have to be age 18--period. Parental support and approval makes no difference. I know from personal experience that impatient teenagers become impulsive teenagers, so this could be a bad thing. You don't think long term when you're young.

But Barbie's new ink--what they show of it, looks like the fanciful images of Sailor Jerry--mermaids, cherries, hearts, (well, pistols, brass knuckles and knives are part of that aesthetic, too) and all the other images you see in Tattoo magazine every month. Nothing too odd or objectionable there.

Parents will have to deal with this. Images of tattooed movie stars are everywhere, so it's just another place where patience, calm and perspective will counter any ill effects of Barbie's new style.

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