El Segundo, CA — In an attempt to stay relevant, the Mattel corporation announced a gender-neutral version of its popular body and lifestyle shaming Barbie action figure. According to the company, this new non-binary toy has been in development for over 6 years.
“We’ve spent millions of the R&D dollars to develop our latest iteration of Barbie, who we’re calling Barb,” said Mattel spokesperson Bethany Millbright. “Our research suggests that there’s an overwhelming demand for Barb and its new companion, who is still in development.”
Rumors suggest that Barb’s companion is a gender-neutral version of her long-time patriarchal overseer Ken. No word if Ken will receive a more modern renaming.
Of course, many are critical of this new toy, which they see as a cynical attempt to capitalize on various social movements moving across the country. Still, others complain that this demonstrates that Mattel is even more out of touch than ever.
“So, what’s the point of this?” Questioned self-proclaimed ‘toy activist’ Drew Kennedy, who runs San Francisco Cultural Toy Advocates, a watchdog group who monitors the industry. “I suppose they’re working the untapped gender-neutral body-shaming market. This is a craven attempt to capitalize on changing cultural norms. This behavior is worse than the Rolling Stones over the years. What? A disco album now? A rap one?”
For its part, Mattel denies exploiting cultural movements, saying that it learned its lessons with 1969’s Revolutionary Maoist Barbie and 1978’s Seeking Arrangement Barbie.