Iran has expanded its cultural war against “western influences” to include Barbie.
Iran’s religious rulers first declared Barbie, made by U.S. company Mattel Inc, un-Islamic in 1996, citing its “destructive cultural and social consequences.” Despite the ban, the doll has until recently been openly on sale in Tehran shops.
The new order, issued around three weeks ago, forced shopkeepers to hide the leggy, busty blonde behind other toys as a way of meeting popular demand for the dolls while avoiding being closed down by the police.
The Iranian regime has not only banned Barbie, but has also attempted to supplant her with its own range of toys.
A range of officially approved dolls launched in 2002 to counter demand for Barbie have not proven successful, merchants told Reuters.
The dolls named Sara, a female, and Dara, a male arrived in shops wearing a variety of traditional dress, with Sara fully respecting the rule that all women in Iran must obey in public, of covering their hair and wearing loose-fitting clothes.
Yet the free-market, or at least the desires of young girls, has prevented these alternative toys from catching on. Iranians are defying the morality police and surreptitiously trying to purchase Barbies.