Barbie appearing in Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit Issue

By Daniel S Levine,

Mattel and Sports Illustrated have teamed up for a new Barbie campaign to feature the doll in SI’s new Swimsuit Issue and it certainly got the Internet talking. Both brands have faced criticism for the way they present women.

The partnership was announced Tuesday, confirming that a spread with Barbie dolls will be featured in the magazine’s 50th anniversary issue. Veteran photographer Walter Iooss Jr. was recruited to shoot the photos, which includes one with Barbie in the black-and-white one-piece swimsuit the doll wore in 1959. The doll will also appear on the cover of some copies of the issue.

"The legacy of Swimsuit is personified through the trailblazing careers of its cover models and it was important to celebrate these extraordinary women as part of our 50th Anniversary," SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day said in a statement. “From its earliest days, Swimsuit has delivered a message of empowerment, strength and beauty and we are delighted that Barbie is celebrating those core values in such a unique manner.”

Of course, both Barbie and SI have been criticized for objectifying women and Barbie has often been targeted for being obsessed with fashion. The SI special will feature legendary models who have posed for the magazine in the past and in recent issues. To counter the criticism, AdAge reports that Mattel has come up with the tagline “Unapologetic” for the campaign.

“Barbie is a legend in her own right, with more than 150 careers and a brand valued at $3 billion,” a Mattel spokeswoman told AdAge. “She is in great company with the other legends such as Heidi Klum and Christie Brinkley, to name a few.”

As The New York Times notes, the campaign has drawn mixed reactions on the web. One Twitter user wrote “Is it just me or is this incredibly creepy? Also unsure of whether #Unapologetic is appropriate for a child’s toy.” Another added, “Kinda [heart] this #Unapologetic side of @Barbie!”

On Twitter, Mattel is using the hashtag “Unapologetic” to publicize the campaign, showing off different images of Barbie and her wardrobe. The company is also releasing a limited edition Barbie doll under the Sports Illustrated banner.

Sports Illustrated’s latest Swimsuit Issue hits stands on Feb. 18.

image courtesy of Amazon



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