The Iranian government had officially banned Barbie dolls in the country, saying they could “destroy the nation.” Iranian authorities are reportedly cracking down on the sale of Barbie dolls in an effort to protect the public from “pernicious western culture eroding Islamic values.”
The move had already seen shopkeepers forced to remove the dolls, popular in the United States and Europe, from their shelves. Others were not so lucky and were closed.
“I think it is just hilarious,” mother of two Shaheen Rasoul told Bikyamasr.com from her home in Tehran. Rasoul, an activist in the country pushing for greater women’s rights said that “this is more of the craziness that Western media loves.”
The order was issued earlier this month and has forced shopkeepers to remove the dolls or face being closed down permanently by police.
Conservative clerics in Iran have been contemplating the idea of a Barbie ban since 1996, citing the dolls “un-Islamic” nature that will bring “destructive cultural and social consequences,” but only now has it become a reality.
Barbie and Ken dolls, produced by American toy company Mattel, are extremely popular toys for young Iranian girls.
Despite the ban, Iran has officially approved new “Islamic dolls” to counter the ban – the dolls named Sara, a female, and Dara, a male wearing a variety of traditional dress, with Sara fully veiled, covering her hair and wearing loose-fitting clothes.
According to a press release published Monday on the Iranian Islam for Today website, “The new Islamic dolls have been developed by a government agency to promote traditional values, with their modest clothing and pro-family backgrounds. They are widely seen as an effort to counter the decadent American dolls and accessories that have polluted the Iranian society.”
The new Islamic dolls are made in China.