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Sometime in the 1970s, toy makers realized that not all the children of the world are rich, healthy, white Americans. Eager to get their hands on some non-white dollars, they got busy redecorating their dolls with new ethnicities, diseases and unwanted teen pregnancies.

And really, who better to handle sensitive racial and social issues than toy makers? As it turns out, just about anyone.

7
Happy Family Pregnant Midge

Wanting to stay vigilant at the forefront of producing children's toys that make everyone horribly uncomfortable, Mattel identified three universal truths about little girls:

1. They love dolls.
2. They value - no, cherish - no, get high on the institution of marriage.
3. They love uncapping pregnant bellies to get sneak peeks at unborn fetuses.

Using this wisdom as a blueprint, Mattel conceived (get it?!) Happy Family Pregnant Midge and Baby (her original name "Unwed Janet and Bellysack Full Of Jason the Blockbuster Clerk" was deemed too controversial).

So What's the Problem?

The pretty picture of wholesomeness starts unraveling the minute you lift up Midge's dress, which every single one of us would do within two seconds so there's no point in denying it.

She looks pretty much the same as our moms did, minus the tattooed stretch marks and appendix scars. Things don't get offensive until the kids want to play C-section with Midge, which by the way they totally fucking can. Her baby gut is magnetic, so snap that son of a bitch off and boom, it's upside-down fetus time.

Whip that placenta-less baby out and it's ready to play dress up, but don't forget to snap Midge's skinny belly back on or else Daddy will have to beat the pretty back into her.


The quickest way to tight abs? Child birth, apparently.

Shockingly, Knocked-Up Midge and her creepy ass baby were scrapped shortly after their launch.

6
Chinese New Year Barbie and Amazonia Barbie

Much like Madonna, Barbie is super great at bastardizing other people's heritages in the sexiest, most gap-toothed way possible, and Mattel decided she needed to give the ladies of China and the Amazon a makeover. Check out the picture above; the Chinese is practically radiating from her body.

Meanwhile, Barbie's visit to the southern hemisphere yielded similar results in the form of a doll that doesn't look a thing like Megan Fox.


Clearly modeled on actual people living near an actual river called the Amazon.

Mattel captures the spirit of both of these mighty nations flawlessly, from the feathers atop Amazonian Barbie's sleek, gleaming hair and the tribal tattoos on her pasty white thighs to the distinctly European facial features of Chinese Barbie, these dolls scream EFFORT from the get-go.

So What's the Problem?

In the case of Amazonia Barbie, "effort" means crapping out a design of a white woman wearing enough make-up to pass for a gay guy passing for a white woman posing as an Amazonian disco queen.

Looking at authentic pictures of Amazonian women, we can see where there'd be some confusion:

And their depiction of a Chinese woman can be excused provided that your definition of "Chinese" is "Catherine Zeta-Jones."


Chinese.

Besides the full-on disregard for a major physical trait of Asian races (THE SHAPE OF THE FUCKING EYES), Mattel went through the trouble of actually painting on eyebrows that were distinctly lighter than the color of the doll's hair, as if they weren't quite ready to go "full-Chinese" just yet.

It's much better to imply that this pale-skinned, sedately smiling beauty is gently aware of the people of China and honors them with her wig and Mandarin dress, but at the end of the day she can still take all that shit off and go back to being white.

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5
TheSock Obama and Cuddle with Me Lil' Monkey

During the presidential election race in 2008, a Utah-based company called TheSock Obama Co. released what they referred to as "historical presidential memorabilia" and what everyone else in the world referred to as "a sock monkey Barack Obama."


Basically the same thing.

They began selling the doll on their website www.thesockobama.com, proving that some marketing campaigns never move beyond the weed-fueled play on words they began with.


"Dude, you know what totally rhymes with Barack? Like... sock. Do we have any more cheese?"

Meanwhile, Brass Key Keepsakes, a company known primarily for manufacturing children's dreams in the form of Disney Princess dolls, recently introduced a line called Cuddle with Me, which features racially diverse infants packaged together with a stuffed animal companion.


This can do nothing but succeed.

Depending on which version you buy, that companion is either a panda bear or a monkey, animals that rank just below "crocodile" and "scorpion" on the list of things you should never let anywhere near your children. Both dolls were available in white, black and Hispanic and were sold in Costco warehouses, presumably bundled together with 200 AA batteries and a triple pack of Frosted Flakes.

So What's the Problem?

This may come as a surprise to people who've lived their lives completely isolated from all black people and black culture as a whole, but they tend not to like the "black people are monkeys" thing. Yes, it's truly political correctness run amok when you can't even stereotype an entire race as subhuman.

As you may have noticed, both Barack Obama and the Lil' Monkey baby doll are in fact black people. Media outlets across the country picked up the story on both, as tends to happen with this sort of thing.


"Damn! They're on to us!"

TheSock Obama Co. defended their product, calling it "cute and cuddly" and insisting they hadn't meant to upset anyone with their "charming association" between a black man and a monkey.


Pictured: charm.

In fact TheSock Obama is still available for sale online along with a sock monkey Joe Biden, which was probably meant to be given as a gift to misbehaving children.

Lil' Monkey, meanwhile, was pulled from stores and the line was discontinued, presumably teaching Brass Key Keepsakes to spend a little more time developing their next product before unleashing it on an unsuspecting public.

4
Spirit and Airborne, Native American G.I. Joes

Hasbro upped the racist ante in the early 80s with not one, but two Native American G.I. Joes. On the left up there is Charlie Iron-Knife, AKA "Spirit," a mystical tracker. On the right is Franklin E. Talltree, a thrill-seeking airborne specialist creatively nicknamed "Airborne."

So What's the Problem?

Despite their somewhat confusing and stereotypical last names (Talltree, OK, fine, but Iron-Knife... what?), there doesn't seem to be anything immediately objectionable about these two NavaJOES. Except for, well, Spirit has an eagle on his arm and seems to be wearing an apron for no reason... but Native Americans get those standard issue on the reservation, right? Maybe his file card clears that all up:

"Spirit comes from a family so far below the poverty line that they never realized they were poor." Yes, seemingly unhappy with the regular old "Indians are poor" stereotype, they decided to go all-out and have Spirit be so fucking broke he doesn't even know it.

He was a hunting guide, because hunting is all Native Americans know how to do, and after Vietnam he rejoined the Army for "reasons inexplicable to anyone but a Native American mystic warrior," which might as well read "because of some Dances with Wolves bullshit."

Sadly, Airborne fares no better:

See? He's wealthy, he's smart, an accomplished lawyer-OH FOR THE LOVE OF GOD:

You look at him and sometimes he's looking right through you. Must be the Indian in him. The Navahos [sic] call it "the far-seeing look." Spooky!

Those crazy Native Americans. If they're not summoning spirit devils with their mystic mind powers, then they're just looking at you, all aloof-like. Damn them and their crazy injun ways!

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3
Pink Ribbon Barbie

In 2006, Mattel (again) had the nutty idea that they should honor breast cancer fighters/survivors with a special Pink Ribbon Barbie and donate a percentage of the profits to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, which is so noble that 17 bald eagles exploded when you read that sentence.

So What's the Problem?

Imagine creating a doll whose sole purpose was to honor people born with flipper arms, but instead of crafting actual flipper arms for your doll you give her the most beautiful arms mankind had ever seen and a withering, condescending smile to beam back at the mutated horror-children she is meant to honor. This Barbie is kind of like that.


Mattel's approximation of someone with cancer.

Women battling breast cancer frequently lose their hair from chemotherapy and, in extreme cases, end up having one or both breasts removed as a last ditch effort to save themselves from the disease.

So "honoring" survivors with a fully coiffed pink princess and two gigantic, perfect boobs, who's on her way to the Healthy Lady Ball didn't quite sit well with a few people.

What makes this more confusing is the fact that the creator of Barbie, Ruth Handler, was a breast cancer survivor herself. So why was Mattel--who had the nerve to mass produce a doll with a fetus inside of it--too squeamish to make a toy actually depicting the symptoms suffered by the very woman who created it?

Oh right, because nobody would've fucking bought it.

2
Preemie Cabbage Patch Dolls

Following the phenomenal success of the Cabbage Patch Kids, Coleco chose to expand the doll line in a new direction, wisely targeting the whimsical joys of life-threatening premature births.

The Cabbage Patch Preemie dolls featured smaller bodies than their full-term counterparts, tiny diapers and baldish heads that smelled like they'd been rolled around in baby powder for seven hours.

So What's the Problem?

You know what's not all that cuddly? A one and a half-pound infant fighting for its fragile life in a coffin-shaped incubator with more tubes and machines attached to it than Weapon X. Don't forget the bandages that keep the light out of its underdeveloped eyes, or the little heating beds it has to lay in because it can't maintain its body heat. Toss in some weeping parents and a couple of nurses probing and prodding its frail little body and you've got the must-have toy of the season.

Coleco didn't even remotely try to emulate actual premature babies, which was probably for the best because other dollmakers have and this is what they ended up with:

Transforming delicate babies into big, fat-headed Cabbage Patch dolls is hardly endearing to preemie parents, but Coleco stepped up to the plate with this brilliant commercial, telling us once and for all that all it takes to keep a premature baby alive is a shitload of cookies:

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1
Oreo Barbie

Sigh. Yeah, we had a sneaking suspicion that we weren't done with Barbie.

In 1997, Mattel joined forces with Nabisco in a cross-promotional effort that delighted fat little girls nationwide. And to prove once again that Mattel has the racial sensitivity of a package of Handi Snacks, they picked the one cookie in the universe that could ever be construed as offensive, ever.


Not a Photoshop.

Marketed as a toy that girls could feed their Oreos to after school (what?), Mattel manufactured both white and black dolls each sporting clothes that had "Oreo" written all over them as if they had just been attacked by a crazed team of Nabisco executives armed with magic markers. Early plans to pair the white doll with Ritz and stencil the word "Cracker" all over her clothes were nixed before production.


Cracker Barbie.

So What's the Problem?

"Oreo" happens to be a derogatory term used within the African-American community to describe a black person who, on the inside, really wants to be white. Get it? Because an Oreo is a chocolate cookie with white filling. It's the kind of thing it would take the whitest toy design team in the world to miss.

That's why it wasn't until the dolls were on shelves and baffling people across the country that Mattel realized their mistake (thanks to a collective "Are you shitting me?" from members of all races).

The Oreo Barbies were yanked from stores and discontinued, immediately turning them into sought after collectibles and leaving us with the riddle of what ethnic group Mattel will offend with their next promotion.




Kristi Harrison plays dress up with racist Barbies at Here-In-Idaho.com. Adam Tod Brown plays with his racist GI Joes at FunnyCrave.com.

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For more toys you shouldn't buy your children, check out 9 Toys That Prepare Children for a Life of Menial Labor. Or find out about some toys that will straight eat your child, in The 13 Most Unintentionally Disturbing Children's Toys.

And stop by our Top Picks to see our new office mascot: The granrojo jellyfish.

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