Burqa Barbie: Boycott Mattel, rebuke Save the Children

By Barbara

In response to my letters of concern regarding Burqa Barbie to both ‘Mattel’ and ‘Save the Children’ I got the following

Reply email from Save the Children:  

Thank you for sharing with Save the Children your concerns over the recent auction of an exhibition piece featuring Barbie dolls.

The doll clad in a burkha was one of 10 Barbie dolls clothed by an Italian designer/artist as her personal expression of costumes from around the world.  The designer/artist’s set of 10 Barbies, each clad in different dress, was among the 500 Barbies representing different cultures that were auctioned at a charity event in Italy.  The dolls are not available for sale in any store. 

As you may know, proceeds from that event will be used to help support Save the Children’s global Rewrite the Future campaign to bring education to children affected by conflicts.  Over the past three years, with our global donors’ generosity, Save the Children has helped more than 10 million girls and boys in places of war and strife receive a better education, and has helped more than 1 million children gain access to school, which is equivalent to opening two schools every day.

Save the Children does not take a position on the designer/artist’s personal expression, and as a non-religious, non-sectarian organization is dedicated to serving vulnerable children in need worldwide regardless of theirs or their families’ cultural or religious beliefs.

 I thank you again for contacting Save the Children.

Sincerely,
Charles F. MacCormack
President and CEO

 
 

Reply email from Mattel:

Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate the opportunity to respond.

In this case, Italian artist and designer Eliana Lorena used Barbie as a model to showcase her interpretation of cultural dress from around the world. Barbie was literally her canvas and the outfits were the artist’s personal expression. This was one of the 500 different Barbie dolls representing 500 different cultures that were auctioned at a charity event. Barbie has no religious affiliation and we have no plans to make commercial editions of the dolls. These
dolls are not available for sale.

Sincerely,
Mattel Consumer Relations
service.mattel.com

____________________

My reply to Mattel

Dear Mattel,

Thank you for responding, but you have not answered any of my questions, least of all my concerns that Mattel has put its name on a Barbie dressed in Hajibs and Burqas.  It seems you are just playing the Blame game, it’s the designers fault.

 “In this case, Italian artist and designer Eliana Lorena used Barbie as a model to showcase her interpretation of cultural dress from around the world. Barbie was literally her canvas and the outfits were the artist’s personal expression.”

Mattel takes no responsibility that they approved the final design of the Burqa Barbie, that they produced the Burqa Barbie and added the Mattel stamp of approval to Burqa Barbie. Barbie is Mattel and Burqa Barbie is Mattel.

My organization PUMA PAC strives to bring awareness to the suppression of women around the world. One of the most suppressive garments on the planet is the Burqa. To label the Burqa as  “A Cultural Dress” and show case it as a costume or a fashion trend along side of a sari or a  sarong  ignores the fact that a woman in a burqa is a woman who is living in an isolation chamber. Unable to see, and walk properly, she is denied vitamin D from the sun. A woman in a burqa is denied the right to drive a car, she is not driving a pink Barbie sports car, she is denied the right to an education there are no Barbie lawyers, pilots and astronauts under the burqa and more importantly she is  denied the right to the freedom of choice, a burqa is mandatory and if she choices to forgo the wearing of the isolation chamber she will be flogged or stoned.

The burqa is a symbol of the violation of civil rights of women.

Another in correct fact in your email is that “Barbie has no religious affiliation” and that is how it should be. However, Mattel has by virtue of Barbie wearing a hijab and a burqa affiliated her with the Islamic religion. Burqa and Hijab Barbie are either Muslim or they are living under Islamic law. No other religion, culture, government commands a woman be covered from head to toe other than Islam.

The Burqa is also a symbol of the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Burqa

I am happy to hear Mattel

” has no plans to make commercial editions of the dolls. These dolls are not available for sale.”

The purpose of writing to you in masse was to prevent any plans Mattel might have to make commercial  the Burqa Barbie, since Iran is the third largest toy importers and Barbie in her bathing suit is banned in Iran, but Barbie in a burqa or a hijab could be a huge source of revenue for Mattel.

The fact remains Burqa Barbie was produced by Mattel and was sold at auction to generate funds for Save the Children, a charity that Neil B. Friedman, the President of the Mattel Brands Division at Mattel, Inc. is on the board of directors.  That fact remains that a charity, Save the Children, that works to protect and educate children did profit from the auction of Burqa Barbie off the backs of the girls I believed they worked to save they did profit.  The end does not justify the means. They approved of and sold a doll that seeks not to inspire girls but rather sends the message to girls that to be uneducated and sub missive and abused is acceptable to a civilized society. They sent a message to the boys who grow up to be the men who abuse women that it is acceptable in a civil society. 

Seriously what was Save the Children thinking? They above all should be aware that the burqa is a symbol of the denial of human rights for women.  

And finally, you could have produced an email that at least sounded sincere to the thousands of us who wrote you with concerns that Mattel was using Barbie not to inspire girls but to suppress girls. 

Reply form email from Mattel.

Thank you for contacting us. We appreciate the opportunity to respond.
In this case, Italian artist and designer Eliana Lorena used Barbie as a model to showcase her interpretation of cultural dress from around the world. Barbie was literally her canvas and the outfits were the artist’s personal expression. This was one of the 500 different Barbie dolls representing 500 different cultures that were auctioned at a charity event. Barbie has no religious affiliation and we have no plans to make commercial editions of the dolls. These dolls are not available for sale.

Sincerely,
Mattel Consumer Relations
service.mattel.com

My reply to Mattel
Dear Mattel,

The Burqa is not a “costume” nor is it a “dress” The burqa is an isolation chamber, the women cannot see, nor walk properly. The burqa is a symbol of uneducated, sub missive and abused women. To showcase Barbie “clad” in a burqa along side of a sarong or a sari and call it “A Cultural Dress” is a disservice to the millions of women who are forced to wear the burqa or face a flogging or a stoning.

By showcasing this horrific clothing you send a message to the girls you strive to save that being uneducated, sub missive and abused is acceptable, more importantly you send a message to the boys who will grow up to be the men who abuse women that it is acceptable in a civil society to abuse girls and women.

“Save the Children does not take a position on the designer/artist’s personal expression, and as a non-religious, non-sectarian organization is dedicated to serving vulnerable children in need worldwide regardless of theirs or their families’ cultural or religious beliefs.”

The problem is you did not take a stand on the artist personal expression. At the very least your stand should have been Save the Children will not associate itself with a doll that undermines its mission. The end does not justify the means. And as a “non-religious, non-sectarian organization” why would you consider Barbie in a burqa to be either non-religious or non sectarian? No other religion but Islam commands a woman to cover herself from head to toe. The burqua is also a symbol of Islamic fundamentalist Taliban in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

I am proud of my long standing support of Save the Children but I am no longer proud to be associated with an organization that puts a

Najaf Sultana, 16, poses for a photograph at her home in Lahore, Pakistan Wednesday, July 9, 2008. At the age of five Najaf was burnt by her father while she was sleeping, apparently because he didn't want to have another girl in the family. As a result of the burning Najaf became blind and after being abandoned by both her parents she now lives with relatives. She has undergone plastic surgery around 15 times to try to recover from her scars. (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

financial gain above the needs of the children whose mission it is to save regardless of cultural or religious beliefs. However when the children who need saving depend upon you to speak against that culture or religious belief in order to be saved I expect you to do just that. Speak UP against it.

A huge blunder was made by Mattel whose President sits on the board of Save the Children and to blame artistic expression is not accepting responsibility for the choice to put both the Mattel and Save the Children stamp of approval on it.

Apologize to the women you have offended and then speak against the human rights violations the burqa represents and in the future be more aware of the choices you make on behalf of the children you represent.

I thought you may like to see what is under the veil. This is what children need to be saved from and the sooner organizations such as yours become aware of it the sooner we can begin to Save the Children.

See and read more here: http://pajamasmedia.com/phyllischesler/2009/11/23/under-the-islamic-veil-faces-disfigured-by-acid/

The Majority United (TMU) , the PUMA’s, our friends at Pajama’s Media and others will continue to spread this information far and wide along with your form responses which obviously say a lot more than you meant to convey about how much you care about women and girls.

TMU wants to know who bought ‘Burqa Barbies’ at auction and how much did they go for?

Advertisements

4 Responses

  1. […] from: Burqa Barbie: Boycott Mattel, rebuke Save the Children « Free Us … By admin | category: barbie | tags: around-the-world, barbie, different-dress, doll-clad, […]

  2. I got those same replies from Mattel and Save the Children. I agree that they ought to apologize. Perhaps we should track down the designer and educate her as to how a burqa is NOT like other traditonal clothes such as a sari or a kimono?

  3. Every man or woman who reads of this outrageous, ignorant, defenseless event should do as I have done: email

    corporate.communications@mattel.com

    and tell them that you will never buy Mattel ANYTHING… there are plenty of high quality toy manufacturers from whom we can buy our toys (and whatever else they produce).

  4. Wake up guys! There are cultures with bad moral values exploiting women in vulgarity and nudity for money, and there are cultures who respect and honor women. Most of the women in Burqa and Hijab are wearing the costume on their own will and for religious reasons. Just ask people from their cultures. There is nothing wrong!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: