Barbie is everywhere: but is it for children?

Movie classification decisions sometimes differ around the world, reports Children and Media Australia (CMA)

how bad is barbie?

In Australia, Barbie has a PG for Mild crude humour, innuendo, coarse language and slapstick violence.

The UK, however, has classified it as 12A (which has legal force – children under 12 years must be accompanied by an adult) for moderate innuendo, brief sexual harassment and implied strong language.

The US has given it PG13 (some material may be inappropriate for those under 13 years) for suggestive references and brief language.

This comparison highlights again: Australia’s PG classification is a Poor Guide for parents of children under 12. For a child-development-based review of Barbie, see CMA’S review here.

Also, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) took issue with toy company Mattel’s offer of free Barbies to schools as part of a program to teach empathy to children. Mattel was criticised for “stealth marketing” after giving away these Barbie and Ken dolls to schools as part of a programme to teach empathy to children. Free dolls were given to 700 UK schools as part of Mattel’s “Barbie School of Friendship” programme. (See the report published by the BMJ on 20 July)

Mattel said research it had sponsored showed that playing with dolls offered “major benefits” for child development…but experts criticised the program, questioning the potential negative effects of Barbie dolls in terms of gender stereotyping, Mattel’s use of research to justify the program, highlights if companies should be able to market their products freely in schools, reports the BMJ.

Uni South Australia, Dr Fae Heaselgrave’s survey results will help shape future policy about media classification in Australia. see: Parent survey about media ratings