Pic of the Day

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Photo by Ina Fassbender / Reuters

One hundred Barbie dolls dressed in black burkas peer out of their cloaks in artist Sabine Reyer’s ‘Sheltered Position’ artwork on display at the Ruhr-Biennale in Dortmund, Germany, which opened on October 7 and runs until December 12, 2012.

Uh, OK.

Iran cracks down on the moral peril of Barbie dolls

The ideal

Iran’s morality police are cracking down on the sale of Barbie dolls to protect the public from what they see as pernicious western culture eroding Islamic values, shopkeepers said on Monday.

As the West imposes the toughest ever sanctions on Iran and tensions rise over its nuclear program, inside the country the Barbie ban is part of what the government calls a “soft war” against decadent cultural influences…

Iran’s religious rulers first declared Barbie, made by U.S. company Mattel Inc, un-Islamic in 1996, citing its “destructive cultural and social consequences.” Despite the ban, the doll has until recently been openly on sale in Tehran shops.

The new order, issued around three weeks ago, forced shopkeepers to hide the leggy, busty blonde behind other toys as a way of meeting popular demand for the dolls while avoiding being closed down by the police…

Pointing to a doll covered in black long veil, a 40-year-old Tehran toy shop manager said: “We still sell Barbies but secretly and put these in the window to make the police think we are just selling these kinds of dolls.”

Iran has fought a running battle to purge pervasive western culture from the country since its Islamic revolution overthrew a western-backed king in 1979, enforcing Islamic dress codes, banning Western music and foreign satellite television.

Just to give you an inkling of what lies ahead for any nation that decides that theocracy is needed to “improve” society. There truly ain’t anything as foolish as some silly git who thinks puritan life was so wonderful in the good old days.

Are you upset over the breast-feeding baby doll?

Little girls love mimicking their mommies. They clomp around in high heels, push toy Dyson vacuums and tenderly strap stuffed animals into baby strollers. Big sisters — and brothers — who see their mothers nursing a new baby sibling often pretend to do the same. Lifting their tiny tees, they smush a doll or, in my daughter’s case, a panda to their chest. As parents, we race for the camera and post the adorable pics on Facebook. So why all the brouhaha over the The Breast Milk Baby?

“Yuck” is the general reaction that the sweet-faced Spanish import is receiving in the U.S. It’s apparently a hit in Europe, but more prudish Americans are clamoring to decry the inappropriateness of a doll that lets a young girl pretend to breast-feed. The six models — Cameron, Jeremiah, Lilyang, Jessica, Savannah and Tony — are sold with a flowered halter top for your breast-feeder-in-training to wear. Hold the baby to the strategically placed flower “nipple,” and the doll moves its mouth and makes associated suckling sounds.

Granted, it’s — pardon the pun — pretty over the top. But it’s hardly odder than the anatomically correct boy-doll my mother-in-law bought my son; fill it with water and it obediently wet the plastic potty it came with. Yet while urinating — and defecating — dolls are commonplace, major retailers have shied away from Breast Milk Baby so far, although manufacturer Berjuan Toys intends to tout the doll’s appeal at a mega-trade show later this month in Las Vegas…

Berjuan, meanwhile, is milking its 15 minutes of fame for all it’s worth. On its website, the company trumpets that “God Supports The Breast Milk Baby” and U.S. spokesman Dennis Lewis complains of being labeled “perverts and pedophiles” for promoting breast-feeding. “Churches all over the world are filled with images of Mary nursing baby Jesus, and yet we can’t imagine letting our daughters learn how important breastfeeding is for our society?” he says on the site.

Religious guilt aside, it’s undeniable that the doll is a good match for children, who are naturally curious about biology. The Breast Milk Baby simulates the miraculously complex way a woman’s body can produce all the food her baby needs for many months. It’s one thing to castigate Bratz dolls with their sultry, made-up eyes and Angelina Jolie lips or Barbies with their infinitesimal waists and big boobs; they ooze sexuality and project unattainable body ideals. If anything, The Breast Milk Baby is a refreshing change from the doll-as-tarted-up-playmate paradigm: it’s not about sex; it’s about eating.

Not that there is anything unusual about Americans blurting out their ignorance and archaic fears over sex and/or food. You probably could turn out a joint Christian/Tea Party demonstration against a local retailer offering this doll – ten times faster and easier than, say, the equivalent herd showing up at a public exposition on neutering stray dogs and cats. Though the latter addresses longterm questions our society should deal with and the former – well, the former is a historic footnote on the insecurities of this nation.

FBI warns Barbie Doll may be used for child porn – Huh? Wha?

Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

The FBI is warning law agencies that the new Barbie “Video Girl” doll could be used as a tool by pedophiles to make child pornography.

In an alert entitled “Barbie ‘Video Girl’ a Possible Child Pornography Production Method,” the FBI said the doll has a built-in hidden camera in the chest and a small LCD screen for video display in her back.

How “hidden” is a camera that’s hooked up to a screen in the doll’s back?

The FBI “cyber crime alert” doesn’t cite any misuse of the doll, which has been on the market since July, but talks about the possibility…

The FBI regularly distributes such alerts to help investigators improve policing. No incidents involving the new doll have been reported, according to Frederick Gutt and another FBI special agent, Steve Dupre…

The notice is written for law agencies only, but someone at the FBI mistakenly sent it to media outlets in Seattle, said Dupre of the FBI’s Sacramento, California, office, which distributed the notice.

This is another “what-if” scenario that truly illustrates what comes from coppers with too much time on their hands.

This is based on knowing that there once was a pedophile who gave a kid a Barbie Doll. And another where a pedophile used a hidden video camera. Therefore, we must live in fear and trepidation of someone combining the two.

Cripes. Let me repeat my favorite “what-if” story.

When Ruud Gullet was cratering in his gig as manager of the Fulham Football Club, he found himself in a press conference where a couple of reasonably sober members of the 4th Estate bombarded him with hypothetical questions and demanded resolution of the problems they offered.

He replied, “What if, what if, what if? If my auntie had balls she’d be my uncle!”

And if she had a video camera in her chest and belonged to a pedophile, she might be Barbie.

Mattel convinces Barbie to sign up to Foursquare

Says something about what constitutes “female” nowadays, eh?

Barbie – the famous Mattel doll that is loved by girls (and boys) all over the world – appears to have taken on a new career, and a starlet and movie maker. And what’s more is that she’s also joined social media website Foursquare, to celebrate the new Barbie Video Girl.

According to Jennifer Van Grove at mashable.com, Barbie – as a celebrity Foursquare user – will be using the social media service to promote location-based scavenger hunts. She’ll also be using the popular social networking site Twitter, to tweet text, photo and video clues…

The new Barbie Video Girl doll doubles as a video camera, with an LCD screen. It also comes with video editing software. Both the doll and the Foursquare scavenger hunt has showed how Mattel is tuned into the digital and social media world of today.

Ah, tuned-in. As in Hard Day’s Night and the saxophone replacing the guitar as lead instrument?

Does Barbie’s new geek look fit the reality?

Barbie, the toy doll that is a perennial favourite among girls, has been assigned a new career – computer engineer. But how accurate is the glam-looking tech support Barbie compared to real life..?

Her new occupation is the result of an online vote hosted by Barbie’s makers, Mattel – and the doll itself was unveiled last week at the New York Toy Fair. The new doll is decked out in black spangled leggings and a lime-green fitted tunic patterned with binary code, worn under a slinky waistcoat, with saddle-stitching detail. The ensemble is topped off with the requisite hot-pink accessories: glasses, watch and shoes. To emphasise her innate “techiness” she carries a pink laptop and sports a Bluetooth headset…

So would tech support Barbie fit in among the IT crowd in your office?

“It’s very much a young man’s industry,” says Rachel Andrew, director of Edgeofmyseat.com. “Women find the need to become quite laddish. You try and become very geeky and not particularly feminine…”

Despite Mattel’s claims that Barbie “can help inspire a new generation of girls to hone in on their computer skills and become a part of this growing profession”, not everyone is convinced.

“As a career, IT probably sounds a bit dull and boring,” says Katherine Coombs, a chief information officer. “I don’t think the doll’s going to change the world. It’s when other women are working in IT, not a doll.”

But computer professionals do think tech support Barbie could help change the perception of women in the industry, and make girls realise you don’t have to eschew makeup and styled hair to work in the computing sector.

IT women certainly needn’t feel trapped by the geek stereotypes that trap a few guys. Most male IT pros I know regard comfort as more important than style. And that’s it.

Women take style and appearance more into account than men ever will – and to whatever extent they wish to deal with attractive dress and fashion, they will bring that portion into their work life. Though, as ever, it’s a pleasure to poke fun at Barbie.

Barbie grooves with tattoos

The Barbie doll has been given a make-over for her 50th birthday and been given tattoos.

The doll now comes with a set of sticker tattoos so children can make her look like their heroes, such as Jordan, Amy Winehouse or Cheryl Cole…

Customize the fashions and apply the fun temporary tattoos on you too. Choose from Barbie or Nikki dolls, both include additional fashions, tattoo stamper and tattoos.”

But parents have expressed concern.

So, would you buy this doll for your kids? What’s your answer when your daughter says, “I want a tattoo like Barbie?”

What if she’d like to be tattooed like this Barbie Doll?