Barbie has a new look, and not everyone is happy

Updated 30 January 2016

Barbie has a new look, and not everyone is happy

NEW YORK: Poor Barbie. She had plastic surgery to become more socially acceptable. But a lot of her critics still don’t like her.

Barbie’s manufacturer, Mattel, announced Thursday that the doll has three new body types — curvy, tall and petite. Barbie will also now come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles. Mattel spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni said the product is evolving to “offer more choices” to make “the line more reflective of the world girls see around them.”
But Kris Macomber, who teaches sociology at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, says she’s “reluctant to celebrate Barbie’s new strategy because it doesn’t change the fact that Barbie dolls and other kinds of fashion dolls still over-emphasize female beauty. Sure, all body types should be valued. And, sure, all skin colors should be valued equally. But why must we keep sending girls the message that being beautiful is so important?“
Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said Barbie’s changes are a testament to activists who for years have challenged her “unrealistic and harmful body type.” But body type “was only one of the criticisms,” he said. “The other was the brand’s relentless focus on appearance and fashion.”
Kumea Shorter-Gooden, co-author of “Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America,” has said in the past that Barbie has a bigger impact on black girls struggling with messages about skin color and hair. Shorter-Gooden applauded Mattel “for diversifying the size and look of Barbie,” but noted that “European-American hair still prevails,” and that the dolls’ outfits still “convey a traditional and constraining gender norm about how girls and women should look.”


Sumatran tiger kills farmer in Indonesia

Updated 13 December 2019

Sumatran tiger kills farmer in Indonesia

  • Tigers mauled to death another coffee farmer and seriously injured two Indonesian tourists in separate incidents in the province last month
  • Human-animal conflicts are common in the vast Southeast Asian archipelago, especially in areas where the clearing of rainforest is destroying animal habitats

PALEMBANG, Indonesia: A Sumatran tiger has killed an Indonesian farmer, police said Friday, in the third fatal attack by the critically endangered species in less than a month.
The 55-year-old was set upon by the big cat at a coffee plantation in South Sumatra province on Thursday.
Authorities said the dead man’s companion screamed in vain to warn him about the approaching predator.
“All of sudden, the tiger pounced on the victim,” local police chief Ferry Harahap told AFP on Friday.
The deadly attack comes just a week after a tiger killed another farmer in nearby Pagaralam.
Tigers mauled to death another coffee farmer and seriously injured two Indonesian tourists in separate incidents in the province last month.
Local conservation agency official Martialis Puspito blamed human encroachment on the endangered animal’s habitat for the spate of attacks, adding that residents were being warned to steer clear of the wilderness.
“We cannot drive out the tigers because the jungles are their habitat so it’s people who have to stay out of there,” he said.
Human-animal conflicts are common in the vast Southeast Asian archipelago, especially in areas where the clearing of rainforest to make way for palm oil plantations is destroying animal habitats.
Sumatran tigers are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, with fewer than 400 believed to remain in the wild.