Independent Woman

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Barbie to feature 'unapologetically' in this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue

Christopher Hooton, Independent.co.uk

Published 13/02/2014 | 12:28

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Defying its critics, Barbie manufacturer Mattel is to feature the iconic doll in Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue alongside the hashtag '#UNAPOLOGETIC'.

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Seemingly a bid to boost flagging sales and simultaneously troll those who campaign against her unrealistic body image, the move sees the toy producer turn the charge often made against Barbie back on her detractors, saying she has always been criticised for 'how she looks'.

The slim-waisted doll will appear in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit's 50th anniversary issue, which hits stands on Tuesday, alongside supermodels like Christie Brinkley and Brooklyn Decker.

"As a legend herself, and under constant criticism about her body and how she looks, posing ... gives Barbie ... and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are," Mattel said in a statement.

Towards the latter end of her 55-year history, Barbie has caused controversy over everything from her chiselled facial features to her tiny waist and 'life choices', having lived in a 'dream house' and worked extensively as a fairy princess.

The criticisms were compounded last year, when an artist produced mock-ups of what Barbie would look like with the figure of an average 19-year-old.

Lisa McKnight, the senior vice president at Mattel, said 'unapologetic' is a word that executives at the company often use internally, but this is the first time that it is "engaging in a conversation publicly".

Sports Illustrated Swimsuit editor MJ Day said Barbie fits in with the swimsuit issues' "message of empowerment" for women.

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