Everyone loves Barbie; the doll who seems to be able to do everything and has a long-standing reputation with little girls for generations. We’ve seen Barbie go through a lot of phases in her ever-lasting life, each with a new career and exciting adventure. She’s been a doctor, an astronaut and everything in between. Most of us has a Barbie growing up, but even if you didn’t you’ve at least heard the name before. It’s been an iconic franchise in the toy industry that’s never faded out. For every new wave of children, there’s always been a Barbie doll waiting for a new home.
You would think with the kind of versatility Barbie has that she’d be a fantastic role model for young girls, but many seem to think that’s not the case. Barbie has been one of those dolls to hop on the trend of each generation fairly quickly and with one look at her older models, you’ll be able to tell the time period she comes from. There have been plenty of controversial Barbies over the doll’s history; sometimes she’s insensitive while other times she’s just entirely strange. We know they can’t all be winners, but surely the masterminds behind the doll’s creations would put a little bit of sense into what they sell kids? Right?
Well, not always it seems. We’ve found 25 of the weirdest and downright bad Barbie dolls you’ve ever seen in your life. We know for sure that we’d never see these dolls on the shelves today!
25 The Kissing Barbie
Barbie has been known for her relationship with Ken, and that’s not really a big secret. The couple have had a weird history, from being one of the most exclusive toy couples to an odd break up, but this doll seems to take it a little too far.
Kissing is innocent enough, but did they really need to build a doll that revolved around it? We’ve seen Barbie have some questionable styles in hobbies, but this just seems a little too centered on her boyfriend.
24 Happy Family Barbie
The Happy Family Barbie caused a real outrage, if not massive disturbance. The Barbie doll allows you to open the doll’s stomach and either place or take out a small baby. The entire concept was extremely strange and, honestly, just didn’t look right for a doll design; it was certainly awkward.
The complaint seems a little weird too, doesn't it?
One of the bigger complaints Midge, the doll for this release, got was that she didn’t have a husband and looked a little young to be having children. They tried to fix this by adding a husband, but the doll still flopped for its strange design.
23 Rappin’ Rockin’ Barbie
Barbie always seems to hop on trends or look for new ways to seem interesting. The Barbie that rapped seemed no different, except for the fact it was really out there and super strange.
The doll was released in the early 90s and featured Barbie with a boombox that spit out a couple beats. The overall looked seemed to be tailored to the rap scene at the time, but Barbie still wasn’t reaching the youth with this new look. Besides, the boombox itself was a little annoying after a while.
22 Baywatch Barbie
Everyone loves Baywatch, but not everyone loves the Barbie that was themed after it. Considering the fact that Baywatch was primarily an adult show that had older themes in the series, it seems a little strange that they would ever make a Barbie themed after it. Yet here she was, swimsuit and all; she even came with a dolphin.
Why was she even made?
We’d probably never see a Barbie made like this again, if not for the fact that Baywatch doesn’t have the following it used to and certainly because it wasn’t really meant for kids in the first place.
21 “Happy Birthday, Ken” Barbie
After a strange and sudden break up, Ken and Barbie would be reunited once again as the toy power couple people always saw them as. For his 50th birthday, we’d see a new release celebrating the male doll’s successful years in shelves all over the world.
So why was his Barbie companion in this series considered controversial? Well, it wasn’t the doll as much as her packaging. It labelled her dress and herself as a “gift” for Ken’s birthday; a little strange if not totally wrong.
20 Slumber Party Barbie
Barbie has had a couple different versions where she’s seen at a slumber party, and why not? Tons of young girls love going to sleep overs and having fun with their friends; it’d be silly not to have a doll themed after it, targeting the right age group.
Why would you even bring these things to a slumber party?
This particular model, however, was heavily criticized for the accessories the doll came with which included a scale and a magazine. It was exceptionally wrong and we’d hope never to see this kind of doll on the shelves again.
19 Sun Gold Malibu Barbie
Barbie has had some questionable hobbies, but this doll seems to really be taking it to another level. If “Sun Gold” wasn’t enough of a hint, this Barbie doll was themed entirely around the goal of tanning herself.
Never mind that skin cancer is definitely a thing; we have to get out in the sun and really scorch our skin! Surely there were other things that Barbie could have been doing with her time other than hoping to grab some sun. At the very least, couldn’t they have included some sunscreen?
18 Barbie Video Girl
Video Girl Barbie was already a really interesting kind of doll, if not one that seemed entirely useless. While we’ve seen technology turn toys into something else, most of the time more interesting or fun, this time it turned a doll into an actual camera.
The fact this Barbie turned out to be such a serious issue is reason enough not to bring it back!
The video could play back the video on Barbie’s back while a camera lens came out of her chest. The worst part about it? The FBI was particularly worried that adults would try to get videos through the dolls.
17 Shaving Fun Ken
We’re not entirely sure who thought of this doll and why, but Ken also deserves to be on this list if he has a weird model release in his past. This shaving doll allowed kids to actually shave Ken’s face.
If you haven’t seen the commercial for this doll yet, you’re really missing out. The best part about it is that Ken looks like a total bum with his beard, his hair is also a mess, but once he’s shaven even the little girls are swooning over him! Really, were they running out of ideas in the mid-90s?
16 Black Canary Barbie
We’ve definitely got some comic book fans here on the site, so you readers might actually like this particular Barbie model! Unfortunately, she didn’t go over too well with the parents.
She definitely would have been cool for an older scene!
People were furious when they saw her up on the shelves because her look was so drastically different from previous Barbie models. Her heavy makeup, leather outfit and fishnets may have worked for the DC character, Black Canary, but it didn’t seem to fit what Barbie had previously promoted.
15 Totally Stylin' Tattoos Barbie
Tattoos may be in fashion these days, but that doesn’t mean parents enjoy seeing them on their kids’ dolls. This Barbie doll allowed girls to stamp tattoos on Barbie’s body, giving her a variety of art wherever they wished to put it.
It’s no surprise that a lot of parents don’t like tattoos in general, but the biggest issue people had with this doll was that they titled the applicator a “stamper” which, many times, alluded to Barbie having a “tramp stamp”.
14 Wash ‘n Watch Barbie
It’s obvious that Barbie hasn’t always been the leading toy for progressive ideals, but this one definitely takes the cake. The whole purpose of this toy was for young girls to help Barbie wash the dishes; they’d load up the advanced dishwasher and watch until the dishes were done.
No one wants to sit and watch dishes get washed.
And yes, the entire purpose was definitely to watch because it even says it in the name. The worst part is that we’ve seen some variations of this toy with different items, like laundry.
13 Share A Smile Becky
This smiling Barbie doll was an awesome step towards inclusion; or at least, that’s what you would think. There are plenty of disabled kids out there who would love a doll to look like them, which is why Becky joined the picture in the first place.
However, the biggest issue people took with the doll was that the Dream House had no accessibility for the wheelchair. For example, she couldn’t fit in the elevator. They definitely should have thought this one through before releasing it and hopefully would have a little more planning these days.
12 Growing Up Skipper
Skipper’s doll has been one of the strangest ones ever; most people seemed to find her “growing up” doll a little strange. Skipper is known as Barbie’s younger sister and, as with most doll brands, we expected that she wouldn’t ever really grow up.
How many people twisted their arms trying to grow up faster?
They changed this idea by giving people the option to help skipper grow; her waist and chest could expand so she’s go from girl to adult. A lot of people felt awkward with this doll and its strange design.
11 Teen Talk Barbie
What do teens love? Talking! Sure, that marketing seems pretty sound for the team that creates these themes for Barbie, but they seemed to really drop the ball with the kind of talking she was doing.
The Barbie already seems relatively out of place with her outlandish outfit, but all of her phrases seemed to only deal with shopping and the fact that math is hard for her. It’s definitely discouraging and stereotypical for young girls to hear that, which is why many parents despised it.
10 Mexico Barbie Doll
Barbie should include all kinds of girls from all different cultures, which seems to be what Mexico Barbie was aiming to do. Instead, it ended up being one huge ball of racial stereotypes that received massive backlash.
Great idea, bad execution.
While their statement about the doll said they’d done their research, many felt the doll was definitely playing off of generalizations and overall racist. We’d love to see dolls be inclusive of all nationalities, but hopefully these days they’d put in a little more time and receive some better feedback for a more appropriate doll.
9 Tanner The Dog
Barbie having pets isn’t really a new concept; she’s had plenty over the years! But the adorable Tanner seemed to make a whole other impression with people. The doll that came with him was just your average Barbie doll, so no complaints there, but the dog could actually eat treats and then push them out.
The entire theme of this doll was to clean up after her pet with a magnetic scooper that connected with the little waste that came out of the dog. Does this ever really need to be a thing again?
8 Star Trek Barbie
For all of you nerdy girls out there, you’d probably love a Star Trek themed Barbie as a kid, right? The idea definitely seems good when you generalize it! But, if you’re a real fan of the show or at least immersed in fan culture, you probably know what’s wrong with this Barbie just by looking at her in the photo; she’s wearing a red dress.
Barbie really doesn't look good in red here for an obvious reason...
It’s known in the Star Trek fandom that “red shirts” are known to be the characters that get killed off first. It looks like Barbie won’t really be sticking around for a full season, if she even makes it through a full episode.
7 Rosie O’Donnell Barbie
Barbie has also been known for creating doll versions of popular celebrities; usually these are sold for older collectors rather than young girls. Rosie O’Donnell had a Barbie doll come out and she was made almost perfectly in her image.
The problem? Her suit was actually attached to her and you could not remove it. The reasoning was that she wouldn’t be able to fit into any of Barbie’s clothes, so why would you need to take it off? It was exceptionally wrong and further proves that Barbie has an impossible figure for most women.
6 Talkin’ Barbie
Out of all the Barbies on this list, Talkin’ Barbie actually wasn’t faulty at all. And yet, the doll sparked a huge controversy over her catchphrases. A mother bought one of the dolls for her daughter and was appalled when she thought she heard Barbie drop a certain word.
One big misunderstanding!
After raising a complaint, the company said she’d misheard the line “off the hook,” which is a completely different sentence that we’re not sure you can mishear. Regardless, we hope they chose their words a little more carefully, so no misunderstandings come up in the future.
5 The Birds Barbie
Because what little girl isn’t in love with Alfred Hitchcock’s, The Birds? This is definitely one of the weirdest Barbie dolls out there. While it’s not uncommon for Barbie to be themed around what’s popular at the time, like trends or movies, it’s definitely something different to see a doll getting attacked by a bunch of birds.
No one even asked for this doll!
Even the backdrop in the box is pretty creepy for a kids’ toy! We have to wonder if any parent actually bought this for their child at some point; talk about an interesting gift.
4 Barbie McDonalds
Barbie has always had an influence with McDonalds; the restaurant seems to be selling her toys almost every other month. This time around it seems Barbie was actually the one to create a toy themed around the fast food shift.
All decked out in her work uniform, she also seems to be bringing along her youngest sister for the ride too. It’s pretty clear that this doll was purely made for marketing, so a lot of parents weren’t too happy with it. It definitely wouldn’t be sold today with how obvious it is.
3 Tokidoki Barbie
The Tokidoki Barbie doll was actually really cool looking, but probably for young adults rather than little kids. We’ve seen Barbie get tattoos before, but at least that time kids were actually putting the tattoos on her the same way you’d put on a sticker.
She is really beautifully designed, but she's probably not for kids.
This time, Barbie already had her ink all over her back and arms. A lot of parents found issue with her look considering it was nothing like her previous models and looked like it was meant for an older audience rather than young girls.
2 Oreo Barbie
Another marketing tool for a popular food, Oreo Barbie showed up to be both ridiculous and extremely insensitive. Not only do we see the doll wearing a weird blue outfit studded with little Oreo cookies, but the term “Oreo” is actually extremely insensitive to black people.
It was definitely picked up quickly and people, rightfully, took offense to the doll. We’d hope that they’d have more people on staff who could speak up about problematic themes like this these days.
1 Barbie Babysits
Barbie has been a babysitter a number of times. Realistically, we’ve seen this same exact doll rehashed a number of times and it’s starting to get old. With how much Barbie can supposedly do, you’d think that we’d stop giving this same narrative to young girls; especially when the doll is so focused around a stereotype.
"Don't Eat!" is the worst advice.
The biggest issue was that she also came with a magazine that said, “Don’t Eat!” on it. That’s certainly not the image we’d want to give young girls.