Mattel has established themselves as the world's number one toy company thanks in large to their marquee toy, the Barbie doll. They have been selling Barbie Dolls since 1959, when they released the first ever adult toy doll in the country.
Since then, Mattel has sold over a billion Barbie dolls which translates into close to $3 billion in sales for the toy doll. Barbie is easily Mattel's number one product and also the most profitable, for 60 years. Its brand has reached every inch of the globe and is one of the most recognizable toys in history.
With that level of success, Mattel has produced a ton of Barbie dolls over the years, and not all of them have been winners. In fact, there have been a ton of cringeworthy Barbie dolls that Mattel has actually tried to sell because they thought it was a good idea.
We did our research and found the 20 most cringeworthy Barbie dolls ever produced and decided to showcase them for your entertainment.
Let's face it, the 90s were an awkward time for all of us, not just for Barbie dolls. That said, the Rappin' Rockin' Barbie was the only doll that truly encompassed the 90s, with both arms wide open. Who thought it would be a good idea to dress Barbie up like a break dancer with the gold chain and all?
If Barbie was looking to gain street cred, she lost it all. This doll came complete with a boombox and hooded jacket just in case your child really wanted to get into the decade a little harder.
The Barbie doll was created for young children, mainly girls, who did not want to play with action figures or toy cars. It was made so that little girls had the same opportunity to use their imagination as young boys.
The Baywatch Barbie doll made zero sense because the audience for the television show was anything but young children. Baywatch was never a show that children would watch, but Mattel decided it was a good idea to create a Barbie doll connected to the show anyways.
The only time it was ever a good idea for a grown woman to dress up like a cat was if she was standing across from Batman in Gotham City. Even then, only Lee Meriwether, Julie Newmar, or Michelle Pfeiffer were able to pull it off.
Mattel decided, however, it would be a great move to create not just a special edition Barbie doll, but an entire collection of Barbies, all of them dressed from head to toe like kittens.
George Washington was a man, right? After carefully examining the history of the United States, and its first President, we were able to definitely conclude that George Washington was a guy. So why, then, did Mattel think they could turn one of their dolls into him?
If they simply went with calling this Barbie doll a Colonial Era doll, then it would not have been a problem. In fact, the ensemble is legit for a Barbie doll, just not for the female version of this nation's first President.
As amazing a performer as he was, Elvis still had real world problems that his fans were not aware of at the time. When he met Priscilla, his wife, she was 14 years old and he was 22.
That is a ton of information, right? So what kind of child, in 2008, would care to play with an Elvis doll without ever having heard of him or his troubled marriage to Priscilla Presley?
In 1994, and for the first time since Barbie debuted in 1959, Mattel released a soft body Barbie that allowed children to go to bed with her, like a favorite stuffed animal.
Besides the soft body, this Barbie doll had an enormous sleeping gown that was furry and seemed to attract every piece of dirt you had in your room. It was not the worst idea, but it felt awkward and if you knew anyone that actually had this doll, they probably did not brag about it.
Alfred Hitchcock is one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. He created masterpiece after masterpiece and developed techniques for modern filmmaking that directors continue to use even today. His vision for bringing an audience into his film without revealing the whole story is an art in and of itself.
However, Mattel decided to introduce a character from one of his films, The Birds, as a special edition Barbie doll in 2008. Again, do they not know that young girls have no idea who Tippi Hedren is or why she has three birds awkwardly attached to her body?
Nothing says best-selling like a Barbie doll that is already deceased. The Barbie doll itself is not that appealing, but when you read its backstory, that's when things get even creepier.
Here is an excerpt from her bio created by Mattel: "From the darkness, an apparition appears, sheer and barely visible. Frightfully beautiful, she lives between this earthly life and an unknown world beyond." Fun for the whole family, right?
Once again, Mattel thought it was a good idea to create a special Barbie doll that is based off an adult themed product. The Raider was Mattel's reimagining of Barbie and Ken as romance novel characters.
In case you forgot, or just did not know, romance novels are books that feature a ton of explicit scenes, particularly very popular among older women. Naturally, it seems like a good idea to sell this to children, right?
One of the biggest controversies with the Barbie doll is how incredibly sexist it is and how advertising it to children, especially young girls, was detrimental to the fight for equality.
This Barbie, with Tanner the dog, reminds girls that they can always make something of themselves, even if it is just a dog walker. Tanner comes complete with the ability to go to the bathroom using little brown pellets so that Barbie can clean up the mess when he is done. One step forward, two thousand steps back.
There is nothing wrong with working at McDonald's, or any fast food restaurant. There are millions of people in this country unemployed, some of them not even trying to get a job, so just having a job is a step in the right direction.
That said, and even though it is one of the better play-sets from the Barbie franchise, it just seemed like a bad idea to sell something that was making it look like the most exciting job in the world for a woman was working at McDonald's. Dream big or don't dream at all.
We were not going to include this line of Barbie dolls at first because we think it's about time Mattel creates a more diverse Barbie doll. That said, could they have done it without making it look as if Barbie found a wheelchair and was too lazy to walk around so she hopped in and started to ride around in it?
It seems a little harsh, but all they did with this line was give Barbie a wheelchair so they could satisfy the complaints about lack of diversity in the Barbie world. In theory, it's a nice bit of representation, but handled so poorly.
Things were a lot different in 1978, especially for Barbie dolls. The best example of how laid-back this country was in the late 70s was the Kissing Barbie doll, which came with its own line of lipstick.
The box itself even says, "Make her kiss! See her lips pucker! Hear the sound! See the lipstick mark!" Barbie's always been a bit on the sensual side, but this is just on another level entirely.
There is a zero percent chance that any woman with the body shape of a Barbie doll would also love to eat Oreo cookies. They might be the top-selling cookies in the country since forever, but that does not make them healthy. That's not why this Barbie makes the list, though.
What says "Oreo cookie" more than taking a normally caucasian Barbie doll and changing her to a black Barbie just for the release of this cookie? Oh and they made it even worse with this publicity shot including the chocolate Oreo cookies placed prominently in the background.
Nope, this image is not a fake. That is a real tramp stamp on the lower back of the Totally Stylin' Tattoo Barbie doll. The tattoo comes complete with her man's name too.
Not only were you able to design your Barbie doll with tattoos, you could also cover your own body in them. How many young girls thought it was a good idea to copy their role model's tramp stamp?
It amazes us just how many things we as a species believed was healthy before science kicked our butts to the curb with some knowledge. Remember when smoking cigarettes was good for you?
The same goes for tanning oil. During the 1980s, women across the country were lathering themselves up with tanning oil until they reached the perfect bronze skin color. Unfortunately, they never realized that skin cancer was a real thing. The Sun Gold Malibu Barbie doll is the perfect depiction of how SPF was popular enough to create a doll.
Not only were women once treated as nothing more than housewives to keep their husbands happy, they were also constantly pressured into thinking that staying thin was how you keep him happy.
In 1965, when Mattel released their Slumber Party Barbie, it came complete with a scale that was stuck on 110 pounds and a tiny book that was titled, How to Lose Weight. The only thing missing was a celery stick, some broccoli cloves, and a lifetime of low self esteem.
Since the beginning of time, adults have been trying to find the best way to teach children the value of education. So when Teen Talk Barbie came out, it quickly became a controversial Barbie because of one of her main catch phrases was "Math class is tough."
The phrase was detrimental towards any efforts created towards teaching our children, especially young girls, math and science. It turned the Barbie doll into a dumbo instead of an empowered female figure. Mattel even issued a recall for anyone who wanted to exchange it.
What else can you say besides cringeworthy for a Barbie doll that comes complete with a pregnant removable, hollow belly so you can input a tiny baby inside her?
The Barbie doll was once believed to be more than just another toy for a child to play with. Mattel created something that could also teach children about life, even if they were only innocent children that had no clue where babies came from or even how they were made yet.
If only puberty was as easy as twisting your arm in a circular motion, then everyone would do it.
Growing Up Skipper provided young girls with a doll that could grow breasts and got taller simply from twisting her arm so that Skipper could grow up right in front of your eyes. This is such a horrible way to teach children what happens when they grow up. On top of that, it is one of the most uncomfortable Barbies ever created.