Tattooed Hipster Doll Finally Proves Barbie Shouldn’t be a Role Model

It’s not even Halloween yet. Know what that means in America? It’s holiday shopping season. If you were planning on buying a hip new Barbie for your niece or nephew because you’re all about a gender neutral play environment and impossible standards, you’re out of luck. What’s being called hipster Barbie is sold out. Judging from the price ($50), limited production, and involvement of Italian designer, Simone Legno, the doll isn’t meant to be a last minute birthday gift.

Barbie and Bastardino

When I heard about hipster barbie, this is not what I was expecting. I was hoping that Barbie would look more gay, less LA Ink.

Then I would have reminisced about how if they’d had this pussy positive Barbie around when I was a kid, maybe I would have played with her instead of reading every copy of  The Baby-Sitters Club the library had. (Kristy was def. gay, right?)

Parents are doing the usual parental thing and being more concerned with wild child Barbie than raising their kids to be free of prejudices against those different from them instead discouraging children from one day pursuing a life of naturally unattainable hair color and animal print. When little kids rap along to people who actually walk around with pink hair and tattoos, cute. When Mattel sells a doll with pink hair and tattoos, awful.

Book from Slumber Party Barbie set

There’s no way of eradicating judgments based on looks but when parents react like this, it can’t be helping. I’m not sure what traits other Barbies are meant to convey but those seem to be okay because as long as you look the part, you’ll be fine. Where does that leave us homos when looking different is only the tip of the iceberg for us?

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Brittani Nichols is a Los Angeles based comedy person. When she's not tweeting about white people or watching television, she's probably eating pizza. Actually, she's probably doing all three of those things concurrently and when she's not doing THAT, she's sleeping. Brittani also went to Yale and feels weird about mentioning it but wants you to know.

Brittani has written 328 articles for us.


  1. Punky Quinn Fabray Barbie?! Yay!!!!! Now she can make out with Barbie’s friend “Teresa” (AKA Santana in my universe!) and some of my Glee daydreams are realized. When are they getting short Jewish girl Barbie so I can play FABERRY?

    Yes, I know I’m married and 43 and the fact that I have Glee fantasies and want Barbie dolls is probably not the most normal thing in the world but… [fingers in ears] la la la I can’t hear you because I’m playing with my grunge Quinn Barbie.

    • Play on Steph! I’m 44 and love Glee in all it’s ridiculousness. I don’t play with Barbies however, I never have. I beat the shit out of GI Joe and his kung-fu grip when I was a kid though.

      • Many ages ago, I and my gay boy pals were going to the 2000 lgbt march on washington, and their friend Amy couldn’t go… so she bought the “Teresa” barbie doll (the Latina one with dark hair that looked vaguely like Amy) and sent it with Douglas, to stand in for her in photos, which was such a blast (Teresa was SO popular, and quite a slut at the bars) that she has been Douglas’ constant companion ever since. And you should see the wardrobe Douglas keeps for her. She has more clothes than I do.

        So to keep her company, we have all bought companions for her… Mine are all paired off multi-racial lesbian couples. I hunted down all the rather pricey “princess of the world” Barbies because they are very realistically ethnic; they don’t just look like Barbie in various skin colors. My Native American doll and Hindu doll are a couple, as are my Goth doll and red-haired Irish princess doll. Blonde Barbie is dating my Ethiopian doll, and my Japanese doll is single right now. Maybe she can start dating Punk Quinn if Quinn’s thing with Santana doesn’t work out.

  2. Actually I kind of love this Barbie. Usually I’m not into neck tattoos, but she’s totally rockin’ it.

  3. 1. I really question how this particular Barbie is more offensive than, say, a Barbie who laments how difficult math is:

    2. This puts me in an interesting position given that I’ve openly criticized lines like Barbie and Bratz for a while now. I think the outrage over Barbie releasing a doll with this kind of marginally subversive feature is pretty telling re how this line is looked to to uphold feminine gender norms.

  4. Honestly, my primary concern with this doll would be that it might encourage some kids to try to dress their dog up like a cactus.

  5. In general about Barbie and things as such. Child brain does not equal adult brain. How do we know what they’re thinking when they see this? I don’t know, maybe we should have convos with them about these things? I know not enough.
    I had barbies and a ken. I swear I had crazy hooker clothes for my barbies, don’t know where the hell they came from. But I do remember that I made my barbies have lesbian sex. Just sayin.

  6. When I was in high school, a very good family friend’s daughter desperately wanted a Barbie for her fifth birthday, much to her mother’s chagrin. So my family, being the tricksters that we are, decided to make a Peer Pressure Barbie (complete with leather jacket, nose piercing, and hair dyed black with Sharpie).

    The gift was really more for Mom, but young Reland took one look at that doll, proclaimed it the best thing ever, and carried it off to her bedroom. XD (She is now college-aged and completely awesome.)

  7. I’m probably taking this too seriously, but please allow me to go off on a tangent. :D

    I read a lot of Barbie hate references in lesbian, feminist &/or parenting communities online and it’s really freaking annoying :)

    I have a problem with people projecting the title of “role model” onto everything that children might play with or follow. It’s like no one wants to take responsibility for how some kids are turning out.

    So parents blame dolls, toys, games, pop culture, outside influences – conveniently forgetting: The biggest role model in any childs life is the person or people raising them – how they interact with each other, function in the world and what they value. Are they teaching their child to think critically? That seems to be the bigger issue.

    In short, it’s not Barbie’s fault :)

    I had countless Barbies as a child. This did not stop me growing into a rabid feminist ;-) from a young age… Now I collect the more expensive, tasteful ones made for the adult market.

    This is not to say that Mattel is without fault. They’ve definitely messed up at times. You do wonder who designs some of the concepts? wtf. Which is what email is for! If you want more “accurate to type” Barbies (as an option) – write them. They don’t believe there’s a market for them :\ but they’re wrong.

    In the mean time, there is Joan Jett Barbie. :-)

  8. omg! joan jett barbie! my dream come true! plus, i def. like the tokidoki dog more than barbie. i def agree that she looks like a cross btwn LA INK and rebellious Upper East Side stuck up New Yorker. not my cup of tea. s

    • They have adjusted her body shape to be more realistic now. She’s still not shaped like a human woman quite, but she’s better than she used to be.

  9. I created an account just to comment on this.

    I love that Barbie so much. Barbie is a plastic toy, not a role model. I had so much Barbie stuff as a child, and I turned out ok. I also played with Cabbage Patch Dolls, but no one ever worried I’d grow up wanting to look like one.

    I was OBSESSED with the Baby-Sitters Club. OBSESSED! Kristy was totally into the ladies. I understood Kristy was gay when I was about 10–about 10 years before I realized I was gay. ha!

  10. Oh wow, I remember how absolutely BETRAYED my little five year old self was when Kristy started dating Bart. XD I maintain my belief that Abby was far too good for her.

    Kristy and Shannon, however, were clearly on the road to hooking up.

  11. so i’m way late to this story but i feel so validated that other people saw the raging gay in Kristy!!

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