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A bad-influence Barbie? The children's doll gets inked

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Poor Barbie. The 50-something doll just can't get a break. She's blamed for being too curvy, too blond, too "math-class-is-tough."

Now, Barbie's gone and hit the tattoo parlour. The new limited-edition Barbie features a pink bob, a skull-and-crossbones sweater and – gasp! – tattoos across her chest and arms.

Mattel partnered with the Los Angeles clothing brand Tokidoki to create the girly anime-punk aesthetic that would be at home at any nightclub or rock festival.

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Barbie has dabbled in tattoos before – a 2009 controversial "Totally Stylin' Tattoos" Barbie came with tattoo stickers, according to the Huffington Post – but this is the first time she has been fully committed.

And despite the fact that Mattel says the doll is aimed at adult collectors, some parents are freaking out.

"If I give it to [my daughter]she will think [tattoos are]okay. She may want to go get some," Virginia resident Bill Smith told ABC 13 News.

"It's teaching kids to want tattoos before they are old enough to dress like that," Virginia resident Kevin Buckner also told the station.

Other observers, however, see the street-savvy makeover as a welcome development, one that is entirely appropriate for today's girls.

Salon writer Mary Elizabeth Williams writes: "Sure, she's not exactly Sticking-It-to-the-Man Barbie, and yes, her physical proportions are still unachievable. But with her sassy getup, she is, in her own small, subversive way, announcing to the world that tan and blonde are not the only barometer of beauty. That it's okay to bust out of the mold once in a while – even for the ultimate tan, blonde and very cookie-cutter American girl. And that's a message that shouldn't be wasted just on adults."

Parents, do you think the new Barbie is a bad influence? Beyond that, is a tatted-up Barbie a pretty good sign that tattoos are just about done?

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About the Author

Tralee Pearce has been a reporter at The Globe and Mail since 1999, starting as a writer in the paper’s Style section. She joined the new Life section for its launch in 2007. She covers parenting and family issues for the daily section. More

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