Welcome to the newest edition of The Why. “Why is the Girl Scout Barbie a big deal?” you ask? Good question. (Honestly, since your Eagle Scout author—you know the joke about becoming an Eagle Scout, right?—prefers playing with live Barbie dolls this will take some research.)
Apparently, various consumer groups have been bemoaning this week’s first shipment of Mattel’s new Girl Scout Barbie. The $2 million dollar tie-in deal which was first announced in August 2013 even includes an actual legit patch that can be earned by both Brownie and Daisy members. Mind you, it does make it the first badge to have a corporate sponsor but that doesn’t have to be an issue because the girls still must fulfill specific requirements.
For some reason, while it’s been coming for almost a year, now that the dolls will soon hit store shelves, some folks are causing a stir. ” Susan Linn, director of Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, told the press: “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 to build ‘girls of courage, confidence and character.”
Girl Scouts don’t have to buy a Barbie and can download the merit badge book online and then fill out a form and have the patch mailed to them. Furthermore, while the point of the badge is to educate Girl Scouts about different future career choices, some folks are still worried about having a corporate-owned insignia on the Girl Scout uniform.
New American Dream’s executive director Wendy Philleo claimed: “This is product placement at its worst. Our children are already being bombarded by marketers’ pitches at stores, at home, online, on TV and in school.”
The truth is Barbie has been around for over 55 years. Barbie is older than your opining penman. In her over half-a-century of existence she has donned over 135 different career uniforms (complete with pink accents and accessories) and been accused of sexualizing each one by one source or another.
(On a personal note, as a parent of a successful college co-ed who loved Barbie and is nothing like the ones your randy writer used to “date” (Thank God), this seems a stretch. No one wants girls to think they have to grow up to be perfectly proportioned and not value themselves as people. On the other hand, becoming an obese pig who orders a diet Coke with the super-sized McDonald’s meal under the guise of “loving oneself” doesn’t work either.)
Many other people believe that putting Barbie in the Girl Scout uniform is an excellent opportunity to get girls involved in scouting. One mother on the Today show said: ““I think if girls didn’t identify with Barbie, it might create a problem for us as parents but girls love them. They represent what they love; it’s a win-win.”
Girl Scouts of the USA CEO Anna Maria Chávez concluded: “We are tying the fun girls have playing with Barbie to an opportunity to gain insight into the careers of today and tomorrow, through patches and discovery along the way.”
Why is the Girl Scout Barbie a big deal? Now you know.
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