A little late, but I don't care:
Have you heard? The British are FREAKING OUT! And, get this...it's over Barbie!
The Sun has the headline: "S&M Barbie Is Lashed By Public"
My word! What is this all about?
Mattel is releasing a fall line of Barbies that are based on DC Comic superheroes. Included in this collection are icons Wonder Woman and Supergirl, fan favorite Batgirl (Barbra Gordon), and my favorite comic book character to ever wear fishnets, Black Canary:
Poor Dinah Lance is this "S&M Barbie" all because her costume (since the 1940s by the way!) contains fishnet stockings and black leather.
Golly! What would Dr. Frederic Wertham think? I mean, he claimed Batman and Robin are a gay fantasy, and that Wonder Woman's independence made her a lesbian! But...fetish gear made to attract heterosexual males? In comics? Gasp! Hang on to your monocles!
Hey, S&M Barbie, have you met Bild Lilli?
What do you mean no? She's family! In fact, she's the doll you were based on. Well, not you specifically S&M Barbie, but the original 1959 Barbie. Yeah, she's old. Let me tell you about Lilli: she was a German doll, that was primarily marketed to men as a sex toy.
Oh. Well. Now this is awkward, isn't it.
Yes, Barbie was based on a German sex doll, which makes this quote from British Group Christian Voice about S&M Barbie even funnier: “Barbie has always been on the tarty side and this is taking it too far. A children’s doll in sexually suggestive clothing is irresponsible – it’s filth.”
No, no, Bild Lilli, don't cry, they weren't talking about you, you were marketed to men...it's not your fault that Ruth Handler ripped off your design almost completely for her original Barbie doll...aimed at little girls...
Here's a 1955 Lilli on the left, and a 1959 Barbie on the right.
Now you might be asking "where on earth did this Lilli come from originally anyway?!" Well, would you believe a comic strip?
(Translation from German: "I'm a Whore. Let's go fuck!")
Lilli was a comic strip character created by Reinhard Beuthien for the German newspaper Bild-Zeitung in 1952. Her strips usually involved her using her sexuality to attract men and gain money. In fact, one newspaper (from Australia) even goes as far as to call her a "comic strip prostitute"
Now I understand why Ken isn't atomically correct. Who knows what diseases Barbie inherited from her slutty mother?
(On a side note, those Lilli strips kind of remind me of Harvey Kurtzman and Will Elder's Playboy comic "Little Annie Fannie". The main difference is try doing a google search of "Little Annie Fannie" and you get pages of results. Then try searching for the Lilli comic strip and you get the same two images that I posted here. How has this not been archived better?)
So, everyone that's freaking out over Barbie being dressed like Black Canary, S&M gear and all, maybe you should take a look at your tarty children's dolls' history first.
Plus, have you seen their Supergirl doll? Jeez, she's only like 16 in the books...
4 months ago