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Advocacy groups ask Girl Scouts to drop Barbie partnership

March 06, 2014|By Ricardo Lopez
  • Less than a month after Barbie courted controversy for appearing in the pages of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue, advocacy groups are criticizing a partnership between the Girl Scouts and Mattel, the maker of the toy doll.
Less than a month after Barbie courted controversy for appearing in the… (Jason Szenes/EPA )

A partnership between Mattel's Barbie and the Girl Scouts is under fire by two advocacy groups who say the deal harms young girls. 

Announced in August, the partnership introduced a new Girl Scouts patch for Daisies and Brownies -- girls in kindergarten through third grade -- which features the Barbie logo and the slogan: "Be anything, Do everything." The partnership is intended to promote a variety of careers Girl Scouts can explore. 

The two groups --the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood and the Center for a New American Dream -- criticized the move. In a statement, they said they privately asked the Girl Scouts to cancel the partnership when it was announced last summer, arguing that it promotes sexualized stereotypes and idealizes an impossible body type.  

But the Girl Scouts didn't budge, which is why the two groups have taken the petition public. 

"Parents trust the Girl Scouts to provide positive role models and foster their daughters’ healthy development," the group said. "That’s why it’s troubling that the [Girl Scouts] has partnered with Mattel to promote the Barbie brand to young Scouts."

An email seeking comment from the Girl Scouts was not immediately returned Thursday, but a spokeswoman told the Associated Press they stood behind the partnership. 

"Our partnership with Mattel focuses on career exploration and teaches girls about inspiring women in a fun way," the Girl Scouts told the AP. 

The timing of the petition comes on the heels of a study that found that young girls who played with the toy doll often reported limited career prospects for themselves.

The study sampled 37 U.S. girls aged 4 to 7 in the Pacific Northwest. After five minutes of play, the girls were asked how many of 10 different careers they could do in the future. Girls often said they had fewer career options than boys. 

The advocacy groups' campaign also comes only a few weeks after Barbie landed in hot water after appearing in the pages of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. 


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