Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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March 6, 2014

Girl Scouts asked to end partnership with Barbie

(Continued)

Barbie — still slim-waisted and long-legged after 55 years — had pursued roughly 150 different careers, and she stretched her boundaries again in February by posing along with real-life supermodels in Sports Illustrated's 50th anniversary swimsuit issue. Anticipating the criticism that ensued, Mattel promoted the campaign with the catchword "unapologetic."

In announcing the partnership with Mattel last August, Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chavez depicted both her own organization and Barbie as "American icons."

"Together, we are teaching girls that their futures are wide open with possibilities," Chavez said at the time.

The Girl Scouts have not disclosed the monetary value of the partnership with Mattel.

The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood said that a game on the Girl Scouts' Barbie-themed website encouraged girls to identify careers based on attire — "from a veterinarian in a frilly miniskirt, to a pink-suited U.S. president, to a race car driver in stilettos."

Said Susan Linn, the campaign director, "The website is little more than an interactive ad for Barbie promoting the brand's insidious message that women really are what they wear."

Due to their size and high profile, the Girl Scouts have been a frequent target of criticism over the years, notably from certain conservatives who contend — despite the Girl Scouts' repeated denials — that the organization tilts toward the abortion-rights side of the national abortion debate.

Last month, some anti-abortion groups launched a boycott of the Girl Scouts' annual drive to sell cookies.

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Online:

Girl Scouts' Barbie-themed website: http://forgirls.girlscouts.org/

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Follow David Crary on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/craryap

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