Barbie's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Stirs Controversy

Critics say including the doll in the swimsuit layout sends a dangerous message to young women.
3:00 | 02/14/14

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Transcript for Barbie's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Cover Stirs Controversy
No you to the "Sports illustrated" swimsuit edition revealed last night on "Jimmy Kimmel" for the first time three models on the cover. One of them John legend's wife. Chrissy. Oh, my gosh. Chrissy Teigen, but grabbing the headlines, that's -- Okay, all right, all right. Down in back, down in back. Look at all those necks up there. But Barbie is the one because she's a part of this issue, as well. Yes, Barbie and ABC's linsey Davis. She needs a snack. Thanks, Lara. The blizzard. Reporter: They belong to an elite sorority, bronze bathing beauties who all graced the cover of the "Sports illustrated" swimsuit edition but for this, the 50th anniversary of "S.I." Swimsuit edition unveiled on "Jimmy Kimmel" the issue isn't the cover girl but the four-page spread inside featuring a different doll-faced beauty, Barbie. The 2014 "Sports illustrated" swimsuit edition celebrating legends hits stands Tuesday with this 55-year-old hot rod for controversy flaunting her stuff and making no apologies. Online outrage at the toymaker mattel who paid for the spread. One woman posting there's something super unsettling and creepy about a publication that makes a direct and totally inappropriate correlation between sex and little girls' toys. A Barbie doll doesn't have a place in really what's a men's magazine, in a men's magazine that is dedicated to sexualizing women is. Reporter: But mattel defended its new ad campaign in a statement to ABC news saying "The goal of the campaign is to empower fans to engage and celebrate all that makes them who they are." "S.I." Did not respond to our response for comment but says "Swimsuit has delivered a message of power, strength and beauty and delighted Barbie is celebrating those core values in such a unique value. Linsey Davis, ABC news. Joining us is Dr. Logan levkoff, the author of the brand-new book "Got teens the doctor moms' guide." You have a 4-year-old daughter. 8-year-old son. Yes. So what do you make of this? Gosh, I'm not even sure I alternate between thinking this is so ridiculous and so horrifying at the same time because clearly we are totally saying these people are so unattainable we'll put a plastic doll on the cover of the magazine. And, of course, it does bring up that whole issue of are we sexualizing our little kids' toys. Clearly that -- I'm trying to figure out -- clearly mattel is saying this is a message of empower. But what are they really thinking? I'm all for being unapologetic and not -- being authentic and not apologizing for who you are, however, "Sports illustrated" sends the message that, you know, we can debate whether these women are celebrated or objectified but they're also saying we're not going to apologize for putting your kids' doll on the cover either so it's an interesting parental debate but one we should be having at home with our kids. Show them the cover. She's not on the cover. The wrap. Still doesn't matter. I think to a degree, it may only because it's an advitorial. Advertising inside the magazine. As a former "S.I." Writer it's always sought a healthier model for their swimsuit models we should talk about every fashion magazine on the newsstand because it's not just "S.I." That's -- and as the father of a daughter, Barbie is a tough look. It's a tough look because it's completely and totally -- Unattainable. Barbie is tough and my daughter loves Barbie but, you know, I'm going to provide her with lots of other options, as well but I asked her about this wrap this morning and she said, mom, of course, Barbie isn't a real person. She has a cut in her neck. Her head would fall off if she was a real person so if we equip our kids with the right tools this he'll make smart decisions. Ultimately but it is a conversation worst having. I know I certainly will with Kate who is watching this morning on Valentine's day.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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