The fitness world is abuzz this week, bashing athletic apparel retailer Lululemon, for an ad campaign that features the new Yoga Teacher Barbie doll.
The doll, which is sold exclusively at Target, features Barbie in yoga apparel, and comes with a pink mat and a Chihuahua (?!) The box bears the slogan “ Yoga makes me feel alive.”
Lululemon spoofed the doll on their website saying:
“We’re so excited to announce the launch of our new Perfect Balance collection, inspired by our Silicone Valley yoga ambassador, Tiffani!
Her 1 year goals include mastering tree pose in high heels and travelling across the country in the convertible of her dreams.”
Deanne Schweitzer, the company’s VP of women’s design stated that they are “so excited to elevate the doll industry from mediocrity to greatness, one XXXS Groove pant at a time.”
Facebook fans rebelled with a backlash of comments related to the doll and the campaign.
Barbie is often associated with negative body image for women and young girls, due to her unattainable physique.
While I understand that a plastic doll falsely idealizing a women’s body is not in keeping with Lululemon’s yogic philosophies, is it really that bad?
Barbie is an iconic toy that little girls have played with for over 50 years. She often symbolizes what many of us aspire to. I personally attribute my career as a fashion designer to the time I spent with my Barbie dolls, dressing her in couture inspired outfits, and later designing some of my own.
It seems that every time we look up to a model, an actress or even a plastic doll, the health and fitness blogs go crazy, saying that they project un-realistic views of a woman’s body.
I work hard at the gym and aspire to achieve the strongest, healthiest and yes, sexiest body that I possibly can. I am not turned off by those who look better than I do. In fact, they inspire me.
I don’t compare myself to a little plastic doll, and I think accusing her of being “brainless” is kind of silly when you think about it. (Operative words here: plastic doll)
Why do we expect companies who make clothing, cosmetics and other items, which are created to enhance a woman’s beauty, to only show us “real women?” The average woman is over weight and out of shape. Do I really want to aspire to that? Isn’t that feeding negative body image issues in another way?
Lululemon has removed the campaign from their website, and issued the following statement:
“Hey Everyone, We really appreciate all the conversation and feedback happening here. I want to clarify that this is absolutely not us poking fun or mocking our guests, but rather us taking part in a conversation currently happening in the yoga community. We believe in sparking conversation and it’s never our intention to offend or upset anyone. While we welcome and encourage dialogue and feedback, any posts that contain offensive language or personal attacks will be removed. Again, thank you all for sharing your thoughts and taking part in this conversation with us.”