Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Why Do My Kids Keep Singing "It's a Barbie World" When the Song is Sexually Suggestive?

I kept hearing my kids sing this annoying song about Barbie. They said it came from commercials, but some of the lyrics sounded ironic or critical of Barbiness.

A quick search of YouTube revealed a pop song by a Danish band named Aqua. The lyrics were sexually suggestive, and the song was more than a decade old, so it didn't seem likely my kids had encountered the song directly. But it was clearly the correct tune.

Good song, too, with a funny video. But not something I'd have chosen for the kids to listen to. Ken calls Barbie a bimbo, she says "You can brush my hair, undress me everywhere..."...not that my kids notice that.

Wikipedia revealed that Mattel had actually sued the band over the Barbie reference, for hurting Barbie's image. But the judge laughed them out of court, telling them to "chill."

A search of the internet at large on "mattel aqua commercial" then revealed this article about how Mattel, seven years later, licensed the song for commercials. They tweaked the lyrics some.

Meanwhile, Lily and I were rocking out, listening to Aqua, and the sexual content of the song was sailing innocently over her head. Loves her Barbies, that girl.

The song is a hit with 12-year-old boys, too, who seem to get the ironic content: "Life in plastic, it's fantastic!" Granted, I've got exactly one data point on this.

I'm not the only blogger to notice this of course; here's someone who blogged about this on October 20.


  1. The sideburn stripes on the bald guy's head are really, really scary.

  2. Did I tell you about the song "Ice Cream" from the New Young Pony Club? Catchy and even more of a problem if your kids bother to listen closely to the lyrics. And this song was on a commercial.

  3. Okay, I actually listened to this song the other day. The band that made this should be doing jail time for crimes against my auditory system. It's as though an elevator full of kids and helium balloons crashed into a Euro-trash techno fest.

    Mattel should have sued the band just on the grounds of good taste.