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No Playing Around — Iran Steps Up Effort to Take Down Barbie


Iranian children must be protected from, not by, Batman and Superman. These Western superheroes, along with Barbie and Harry Potter, are alarming Iranian officials.

Iran's prosecutor general spoke out against the fictional figures last weekend saying: “These toys, which do not respect the required norms, present dangers for the health of children and affect the survival of toy factories in this country."

Barbie specifically is guilty of disobeying Iran's rule against showing curves — women, including plastic ones, must hide all their contours. A while back, police raided toy shops, hiding Barbie's body with black stickers. The prosecutor general is again pushing measures to stop the smuggling of these toys, which have been banned for six years.

To counter Western influence, Iran has its own version of Barbie and Ken dolls— Sara and Dara — two siblings that respect Islamic rules, and turn to their parents for guidance. The government hopes that these dolls will become more popular than the well-liked American version.

Is it commendable that the Iranian government is promoting toys that promote their cultural and religious values, or is it an affront on freedom? Is it so bad that they are pursuing an alternative to a scantly clad, busty- skinny blond role model?

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