Barbie Dreamhouse in Berlin a pink nightmare for protesters
To some it would be a dream home, albeit a slightly kitsch one. To others it resembles a very pink house of horrors that has no place in a modern city.
The first life-sized Barbie house to be unveiled in Europe opened in Berlin yesterday, but Barbie fans were far outnumbered by feminist protesters and leftwing activists who shouted "pink stinks" and called the plush plastic villa "sexist propaganda".
Security guards swiftly ejected the protesters from the site which is built on industrial wasteland between a railway line and communist-era housing blocks. Barbie fans instead paid €15 (HK$150) to explore 26,900 sq ft of the doll's realm.
They could try on her clothes, bake cupcakes in her kitchen, stroll along her catwalk and even hang out in her living room. Electronic armbands and touch screens "enhance" the experience, say organisers, who have described it as a "unique, life-size and interactive installation that brings the world famous Barbie toy house alive".
"The Barbie Dreamhouse is a culmination of everything that the toy industry has managed to do with the colour pink in the past 20 years," said Stevie Schmiedel, a British-born academic and founder of the German arm of the protest group Pinkstinks which campaigns against the promotion of gender roles in children's toys and advertising. "Pink now stands for seduction, cuteness, large eyes with long eyelashes and above all everything to do with external appearance," she said.
Another protest group, Occupy Barbie Dreamhouse, says Barbie is the wrong role model for young girls. "It's a real pity that the vast majority of little girls play with a doll that, if she were real, would be anorexic and whose life would be focused on waiting for Ken in the car," said Michael Koschitzki, the group's leader. The mobile mansion will tour other European cities from late August.
Additional reporting by Associated Press