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‘Drag Queen Barbie’ Creates Controversy

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Media-dubbed "Drag Queen Barbie."  (Screenshot courtesy of Phillipe Blonde's Twitter.)

Media-dubbed “Drag Queen Barbie.” (Screenshot courtesy of Phillipe Blonde’s Twitter.)

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LAS VEGAS (CBS LAS VEGAS) – Mattel Toy Company’s recent release of “The Blonds Blond Diamond Barbie” continues to cause controversy as the glamorous doll lives up to its designation as the first “Drag Queen Barbie.”

The famous blond doll is styled with glamorous Marilyn Monroe makeup in a barely-there, platinum mini-dress. The most noticeable part of which is a bejeweled, corseted bodice that is draped with a floor-length white fur, the Blond Diamond Barbie is designed by New York City fashion duo the “Blonds.”

Mattel has publicly acknowledged that the new iteration of the doll would spark “conversation.”

A side-by-side comparison of the Barbie and one of its cross-dressing creators, Phillipe Blond, reveals why the nickname many media outlets are dubbing, “progressive,” has stuck.

Mattel Inc. commissioned Phillipe and David Blond’s fashion label to create the new doll because they were impressed with the duo’s own design company they started in 2007. Mattel is vocally pleased with the result, according to Cathy Cline, the company’s vice president of marketing for Mattel’s girls’ products.

“One of the great things about Barbie is that she continues to push the envelope,” she told The New York Times. “Barbie doesn’t worry about what other people think.

Phillipe Blond echoed Cline’s statement, noting, “Fashion is a form of self-expression and we believe that everyone should feel glamorous every day.”

The gender-bending Barbie has no features that confirm the doll’s debatable sexuality, and the plastic toy never features genitalia. The doll comes with several accessories that include a cocktail ring, a silver cuff and silver pumps with a pink sole. The new Barbie’s most unique feature is its excessively long eyelash extensions.

The Barbie does bear a resemblance to Phillipe Blond, who sports similar flowing blonde hair. But according to David Blond, the cross-dressing doll is only “loosely based on Phillipe and his character that he plays within our little Blond world.”

The resemblance is uncanny, Sharon Needles, a drag performer who won the most recent season of the LOGO reality TV series RuPaul’s Drag Race told The Daily Beast. “Had I not known Phillipe Blond had designed it, I would’ve said that Mattel ripped off Phillipe,” she says. “It rings true to his sense of design and personal style. But it wouldn’t have been called a drag queen if he didn’t design it.”

The official description of the new Barbie notes that the drag queen Barbie is “pretty, provocative and magical.” It continues, “Phillipe and David Blond believe that every woman should be glamorous every day.”

The Blonds and Mattel never intended for the new Barbie to be a drag queen. According to The Daily Beast, the partnership between the Blonds—best known for designs worn by the likes of Beyonce, Katy Perry, and Lady Gaga—and the toy manufacturer began when the partners were among the 50 designers to create a look for the 50th anniversary Barbie Runway Show at Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week in 2009.

-Benjamin Fearnow

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