Teen Talk Barbie

Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl. — Talking Malibu Stacy, “Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy”

The sexist phrases spouted by Lisa’s Phyllis Schafly doll recall Mattel’s controversial debut of Teen Talk Barbie in the early 90s.

The doll was wired to speak four random phrases out of an overall pool of 270. While most of these phrases were puerile enough — “How’s it hanging?”, “Who am I?”, etc. — many parents were concerned at one phrase in particular:

Like a plastic doll head under a hairdryer, Mattel quickly yielded to the heat, trimming Teen Talk’s phraseology to 269 and thereby leaving a variety of boring jobs open to the fairer sex.

This wouldn’t be Mattel’s first misstep though, no ma’am. The toymaker in the past has made a number of un-PC blunders (ignoring the whole proportion debate), from Colored Francie to that whole wheelchair thing.

And that’s not to mention whatever this is:

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5 Responses to Teen Talk Barbie

  1. Jeanne says:

    As always, good stuff!
    Oddly, I use the word puerile a lot too.

  2. Katie says:

    You might have also mention about the BLO (Barbie Liberation Organisation) who switched the voiceboxes of Teen Talk Barbies with GI Joes and return them to the shelves of toy store as a way to combat gender stereotypes. ALso referenced in Lisa vs Malibu Stacy.

  3. Jeff Albertson says:

    Katie: Best. Comment. Ever.

  4. Mr. Snrub says:

    All this thinking is giving me wrinkles.

    Also: Katie wins at internet. Excelsior!

  5. Pingback: The Barbie Liberation Organization | Springfield Historical Society @ mcgarnagle.com

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