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Posted in: Islamic Gender & Religious Apartheid, Hijab & Burqa

Published on Nov 21, 2009 by Phyllis Chesler

Written for Pajamas Media

Boycott Burqa Barbie


What will they think of next? A be-headed doll?

That's right. I am talking about the new Burqa Barbie doll which is now on display in Florence, Italy, to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Barbie doll. As my colleague over at weaselzippers wonders: Will clean-cut Ken now come (pun intended, 'tis mine) with four burqa'ed Barbie doll wives?

Ah, I am such a Grinch. After all, the Burqa Barbie is being auctioned off for the Save the Children charity.

Save the Children? Surely, you must be jesting. I would like to save the children from this as well as from every other Barbie doll. (Yes, I know Barbie has diversified and now comes in every color and profession). But naked, even Doctor Barbie is still a pagan goddess or fertility figure but one with absolutely no relationship to female biology or reality.

Barbies are always anatomically impossible: their feet are pre-shaped for high heels, their breasts are high, firm, and perky—like Playboy dolls or surgically enhanced Hollywood stars. Bikini Barbie.

These dolls were so retro—or so I always thought. Well, shut my mouth, those were the good old days of sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. Now, Barbie is swathed, shrouded, in a burqa; now, she is even more hopelessly retro.

A woman, a girl, in a chador, chadari, burqa, cannot see that well. You cannot hear what she is saying. She cannot hear you. A woman in a burqa can't run, or even walk that well. She stumbles. Inside, she has to balance a baby, a shopping bag, maybe a pair of glasses perched on her nose, slipping. If it's hot, she is sweltering. If it's sunny, she is still deprived of sunlight and Vitamin D. The burqa violates a woman's human rights. It poses a danger to a woman's health, both mental and medical.

The bikini and the burqa: What ever happened to women's freedom?

I'll tell you. While the bikini (especially as a symbol of pornography, prostitution, and promiscuity) was nevah (I say this with my best Barbra Streisand Brooklyn accent) a symbol of freedom, the western secular state never forced any woman to wear one; nor did her family. And, if a woman refused to wear a bikini, no one flogged, stoned, or honor murdered her. These things are happening to girls and women today all over the Islamic/Islamist world. They are happening in the West as well when young Muslim girls refuse to wear a modest headscarf.

A wonderful Muslim feminist hero just stayed with me for a week. She is a lawyer and an author, her name is Seyran Ates, she is a Turkish-German and lives in Berlin. Like Algerian-American professor, Marnia Lazreg, whose book about the Islamic Veil I've previously discussed, Ates absolutely opposes the veil in any form. She will not wear a headscarf. Ates is a religious Muslim woman.

Mattel: take Burqa Barbie off the market.

Parents: Boycott it.

Calling all Charities: Save the children from it.


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