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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?


Join The Conversation
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Bahar, thanks for letting us *view* your country. It is always good lesson for anyone to hear from the people of said country. :) Your english is perfect. :)
melda melda 9 years
Bic was cheapest pen in my country since I was born! We have been using it for more than 10 years of course, it was very cheap actually, all students used it, and I was so amazed when I see in a European TV show that they use Bic pen too! lol I live in a very small town in Iran, not even Tehran. But yes what they bring from America to Iran is because it is Soghaati. Like when I go from my town to my sisters' or to Tehran, I bring many stuff with myself for them as a gift. every one who travels to other places brings gifts for his family and friends, even if it is cheap it is priceless for us. it is part of our culture, someone from a village brings gift, the other who comes from the states, brings gifts. sorry my english is poor.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
@ Bahar - I realise that that may be the case now, but I definitely recall several years ago (maybe 10?) when my friend and her family were going to Iran, they stocked up on things that I thought were completely normal (and there were definitely some boxes of Bics) to take to their relatives. Nowadays, it's definitely more upscale stuff, but they still do take a lot of American name-brand everyday items to Iran when they go.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Bahar, that's a lovely avatar. :) Most of the comments were of Americans actually making fun of their own experiences of having Barbie, or just simply making light hearted jokes of Barbie. Others actually defended the Iranian culture, and gave educated clarity of Iranian culture and women. There were few derogatory remarks made about Iran and Iranian culture. Even so, it is human nature for people to react and comment what is very different to them. I'm sure you are amused at Americans as well sometimes.
melda melda 9 years
melda melda 9 years
people most of you have no idea about any other religion and any country other than your!!! very well educated girls.
melda melda 9 years
we have been using Bic pens since years ago no need to bring them from America to here. Bic is cheap and popular in iran
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
I only thought of Barbie as a doll. It was my mother that I thought was the perfect woman and she looks nothing like Barbie. It wasn't until I started to read seventeen magazine and the like that I started comparing myself to the "ideal" body type.
janneth janneth 9 years
Can you imagine how much fun those police officers had putting the black stickers on Barbie's body? I liked Barbies when I was a kid, but now I think they are bad for girls. It is an unrealistic anatomy, down to her teeny tiny feet. You all say you weren't affected, baloney. Barbie insidiously defined the ideal woman for several generations. Body, boyfriend, and convertible. Deny her influence all you want, you can't change reality. Good luck to Sara and Dara.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I had the barbie soda shop and the barbie ice cream maker... no mansion though... But really, barbie didn't compare to Jem and her light up earrings!
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
LOL! :rotfl: That makes me think of my own brother who used to burn all his army men.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
:ROTFL: rac
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
As a boy who had a twin sister I enjoyed playing Triangle Shirt Factory fire with her townhouse.
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
Everyone should get a blythe doll anyway. They are the best!
harmonyfrance harmonyfrance 9 years
I would decorate my barbie house, pick out their outfits, and have them make out with Ken. Then I would get bored and go climb a tree or something. :) I was much more into paper dolls. I had a princess diana one...I wish I still had it!
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 9 years
Well we saw what scantly clad skinny busty role models did for our society. They should do wodners for Iran.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Yeah, I know. :) My mom b-t-w is going to be 80 this year! She is a spry 80yo woman!
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
harts your mom is a smart lady!!
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Yea Bratz are really bad... My Little Ponies rock though!
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
All I had was a couple of battered My Little Pony dolls (one with its mane mangled after a bad attempt at a haircut), a Spirograph, and a bunch of books. No Barbies were allowed in my house. But I think that's just because my mom thought they were stupid.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
Rac, for what it's worth, Wikipedia says that the Barbie doll itself was created by an American businesswoman named Ruth Handler, but that the design was influenced by the German Bild Lilli doll first produced in 1955. I looked at to see if the Nazi thing was an urban legend. I didn't find anything on the first search results page, and I was too lazy to go on to the second.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 9 years
bailaoragaditana, I think you're completely right about most Iranians. I met a guy on a train once who had been born in Iran and he said that in public many women actually want to be covered and follow all of that stuff, but at home they were as into makeup and clothes as any American woman and that it's just the fundamentalists that are pushing all of this on everyone in the country. As far as Barbie goes, my sister and I had a billion of those things and neither of us felt like we had to look like them, so I guess never really understood parent's objections to them. Now, those Bratz dolls on the other hand I think are totally innapropriate and I don't think I'd want my future child playing with those.
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
Then there should have been a barbie that said, "We have ways of making you talk." Say that with a German accent.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
I have heard that the Barbie Doll prototype was actually created in Nazi Germany and then marketed here in the US. Is this true or an urban legend?
hartsfull hartsfull 9 years
OH, this is scary! You're the voice in my head AND you think like my mom. :rotfl:
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