Restaurant News

Iran Bans Barbies; Disgruntled Little Girl Calls Replacement Dolls 'Ugly and Fat'

Comments (13)


Fri, Jan 20, 2012 at 4:31 PM

click to enlarge malibu_barbie.jpg
click to enlarge iran_barbie.jpg
L.A.-based toy company Mattell is facing some pushback from the Iranian government, re: the "destructive cultural and social consequences" that its freakishly perfect Barbie dolls have on the little girls of Iran.

Reuters reports that the ban was unofficially passed in 1996, but that the "morality police" have only recently been cracking down on toy stores. In effect, a sort of black-market Barbie trade has blossomed...

... so the girls can get their fix.

Here's where the regulation efforts get most embarassing: A government agency called the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults tried to create an alternative to Barbie.

The doll's name is Sara, and she's smothered head-to-toe in traditional Iranian garb. Then there's Dara -- the moral, traditional version of Mattel's Ken. Both have horrific unibrows, and are reportedly selling like woolly scarves on a hot day.

click to enlarge From left: Dara, Sara, Sara. - GETTY IMAGES VIA SLATE
  • Getty Images via Slate
  • From left: Dara, Sara, Sara.
"We still sell Barbies but secretly and put these in the window to make the police think we are just selling these kinds of dolls," one shop owner tells Reuters.

So basically, there's a Barbie Prohibition raging in Iran, and kids aren't going to settle for no stinking grape juice.

This quote from one little girl's mother so perfectly sums up what's wrong with Western culture, yet how futile the resistance:

"My daughter prefers Barbies. She says Sara and Dara are ugly and fat," said Farnaz, a 38-year-old mother, adding that she could not find Barbie cartoon DVDs as she was told they were also banned from public sale.

Best (and worst) thing about kids is they say exactly what they're thinking. Iranian officials can try as they might to affect a new generation's perception of beauty, but unless they stick them in a dark, Internet-less box and never allow them a glimpse of the outside world (aka, send them to China), their perception of beauty will remain a product of nature and greater societal nurture.

"I think every Barbie doll is more harmful than an American missile," a different toy seller tells an Iranian newspaper.

Yikes. Yes, it's a little depressing that unibrows will never be "in" and the ideal woman is marketed as having a 2-inch waist and complete absence of nose. But the children have spoken -- they know what they want.

(And for the record, it's not always fair-haired Malibu Barbie. This blogger, as a young one, was more about the Middle-Eastern, Jasmine-looking dolls. As long as she had sparkly eyeshadow and a bikini, whatever.)

We've contacted Mattel, whose headquarters are based in El Segundo, to see if profits have been affected by the ban. But we're guessing the thriving Barbie black market has ensured that Mattel's execs remain 1 percenters and its products keep clearing the Indonesian rainforests as before. Some things we can always count on to remain the same.

[@simone_electra / swilson@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

Related Content


Now Trending

  • Woman Fatally Struck by Vehicle at Burning Man

    A woman was fatally struck by a vehicle at Burning Man today, organizers said. The Pershing County Sheriff’s Office in Nevada identified the deceased as 29-year-old Alicia Louise Cipicchio of Jackson, Wyoming. Burning Man spokesman Jim Graham said she fell under a bus or "large vehicle" that was carrying participants early today. See...
  • L.A.'s Minimum Wage to Increase to $13.25 an Hour Under Garcetti Plan

    Mayor Eric Garcetti is working on a proposal to raise L.A.'s minimum wage to $13.25 or $13.50 an hour within three years, according to two people briefed on the plan. The mayor is expected to roll out the proposal next week. The details have still not been finalized, and the...
  • Burning Man Shut Down Due to Weather

    The annual Burning Man festival in Black Rock, Nevada was shut down today after light overnight rains left the area known as the Playa flooded and muddy, officials said. Organizers advised festival-goers heading to the annual event to postpone their arrival until at least midday tomorrow. Burning Man was providing...
Los Angeles Concert Tickets