Zara’s new collection with Barbie has been accused of promoting the Mattel doll’s famously unrealistic body standards after photos of the campaign appeared online.
The Spanish retailer has released a limited edition collection with Barbie in the UK, with proceeds of the collaboration going to educational development charity Entreculturas.
But several shoppers have slammed the campaign for featuring slim models, accusing them of promoting “Barbie’s unrealistic body type”, especially given the average UK woman is a size 16.
“At a time when EDs (eating disorders) are rightly being discussed more than ever as harmful to young women, a collection celebrating a plastic doll with proportions which cannot possibly be achieved by a real human – with creative direction such as low angle photography designed to elongate their bodies to a level of distortion – feels tone deaf,” Instagram account @awkwardzara said in a post.
The post attracted plenty of comments from shoppers, many of which agreed the campaign had been a “missed opportunity” for Zara.
“Barbie’s strength is that she can be whoever she wants: she can be a princess, a doctor, a mother, an astronaut and so on,” one person commented.
“Instead this campaign seems to promote Barbie as a body type women should aspire to.”
“This is awful advertising – everything is wrong – shame on you Zara!” another shopper wrote.
“It is the most bizarre collection I think they’ve ever released. PR stunt maybe, but it’s just not okay!” another commented.
But others said it was wrong to label skinny bodies as “unrealistic”.
“Skinny girls aren’t ‘not normal’ or ‘unhealthy’ (although some can be I won’t detract from that),” one person wrote.
“I agree we need diversity but that includes the skinny ones too and I don’t think it’s fair to be insulting or derogatory to thin ones just because the media has caused damage.”
It’s not the only criticism Zara has faced recently, with the retailer also accused of running “inappropriate” ads for its kids clothing.
Earlier this month concerned parents in the UK took to Mumsnet to express concern about the photos which saw a young girl modelling a crop top and jeans, while another two images saw a girl sporting bare legs with a long-sleeved swimsuit.
“Like an attempt at doing high fashion photography for kids clothes. The poses feel inappropriate for kids this young,” one mum wrote.
“Those pictures are completely inappropriate,” another said. “I do wonder about the parents who let their kids pose for images like those.”
However, several parents argued that the pictures were completely innocent and that there was nothing wrong with them.
Commenting on the thread, one said, “They look like most of my childhood snaps from the 80s (with better hair). Not inappropriate or sexualised IMO.”