SeaWorld Barbie quits her job, makes a kickass statement about animal rights
When I was little, SeaWorld Barbie was my absolute favorite. I mean, training adorable, majestic sea creatures? Can you SAY dream job? The Barbie came with a tiny fish pool, as well as a toy whale and toy dolphin that squirted water. For a kid who knew nothing of SeaWorld’s alleged sordid history, it was a dream toy. All that’s changed, now that Barbie has quit her job as a SeaWorld ambassador.
According to Reuters, Mattel Inc. announced the end of the production of the sea trainer doll. In fact, the production of the SeaWorld Barbie stopped when a license with SeaWorld ended last year, and the toy company didn’t renew it. Mattel never mentioned why they pulled SeaWorld Barbie off the shelves, but we’re thinking that it’s because being a trainer at SeaWorld is very publicly not a “dream job” anymore.
After the 2013 documentary Blackfish uncovered how SeaWorld allegedly treats their orca whales, SeaWorld has seen a lot of deals with companies fall through. In fact, they’ve been forced to cut jobs to save the company $50 million. SeaWorld has defended their organization, claiming that the story of Blackfish is full of lies and embellishments.
“We are disappointed in Mattel’s decision to stop production of the SeaWorld Trainer Barbie,” SeaWorld said in a statement. “The decision appears to be based on complaints from PETA, an extremist organization that works to close zoos and aquariums.”
PETA, on the other hand, is rejoicing big time. “Barbie has a rich history as an animal rights activist,” PETA corporate affairs specialist Stephanie Shaw told Reuters. “She’s actually been fur-free for her entire history. We are delighted to see that she can retain her animal-friendly image.”
PETA wasn’t the only animal rights organization to agree with this change. “I’d say it was always a bad idea to teach children that the best way to treat magnificent wild creatures is to capture them, house them in the equivalent of a bathtub, and force them to perform,” Animal Legal Defense Fund attorney Carter Dillard told the Huffington Post in an e-mail. “It looks like Mattel finally agrees.”
But this wasn’t only a move to make animal rights organizations happy. According to Barbie historian (wait, is this a real job? Can WE be Barbie historians?) Christopher Varaste, “The Barbie brand has had a long, positive relationship to the animal kingdom. Whether the doll was released as a pet doctor or a paleontologist, essentially she remained something of an activist: a reminder to children that our animal friends need our protection. In that regard, it makes sense that Barbie was not the right fit for SeaWorld.”
It seems as though consumers agree that Barbie was, indeed, not the right fit for SeaWorld, based on these reviews from Toys ‘R Us:
This might just be a small step for animal rights, but as Naomi Rose, a marine mammal scientists with the Animal Welfare Institute, told the Huffington Post: “When an iconic toy no longer sees an advantage to being linked with an iconic theme park, that theme park needs to reconsider its business model.”
We love that Barbie has proven herself to be a kickass animal rights activist. Thanks, Mattel!