WASHINGTON, D.C., Jan. 3, 2006 -- The Concerned Women for America were ... well, concerned. Outraged, even. Was Barbie becoming part of the transgender movement?
On Dec. 30, CWA, a leading Christian conservative group, noted on its Web site that on the Barbie Web site, www.Barbie.com, "there is a poll that asks children their age and sex."
You can see a screen grab of the poll here.
The age choices were 4 to 8 but children "are given three options for their choice of gender": I am a Boy, I am a Girl and I Don't Know.
Bob Knight, director of CWA's Culture and Family Institute, said Barbie manufacturer Mattel was being influenced by the "transgender movement."
To pose "this transgender question at little girls, they've really crossed the line," Knight said, who added that "bisexuality gender confusion" is the Web site's agenda, which is "very dangerous."
The concern comes after a conservative boycott of Mattel's American Girls dolls. The American Family Association and the Pro-Life Action League protested that some American Girls dolls were wearing "I Can" wristbands, which support Girls Inc. Girls Inc. is a national, nonprofit organization that promotes education and self-esteem programs, as well as sex education, and supports abortion rights and the acceptance of gays and lesbians. The Mattel-Girls Inc. partnership ended on Dec. 26.
But Mattel, which also manufactures Barbie, said the Barbie incident is much ado about nothing.
"This was just an innocent oversight," says Lauren Bruksch, a spokeswoman for Mattel. As a rule of thumb, Bruksch said, the questionnaires at barbie.com always try to have a neutral answer or nonresponse option. For gender, this third option should have been "I don't want to say," rather than "I don't know." The Web site has since been fixed.
Knight had said CWA would contact Mattel to investigate the matter, but Bruksch said Mattel first heard of the complaint when ABC News called for comment.