Iran’s morality police are pulling Barbie off Tehran’s shelves as part of their “soft war” against Western cultural influences. This ban comes after strong sanctions on Iran from the West, Reuters reports.
According to Reuters, religious rulers in Iran have held strong negative opinions of the U.S. company Mattel Inc.’s iconic doll since 1996, citing the doll’s “destructive cultural and social consequences.” However, the ban was only recently enforced.
“About three weeks ago they (the morality police) came to our shop, asking us to remove all the Barbies,” a shopkeeper in northern Tehran told Reuters.
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Even though the leggy doll is no longer welcome for playtime, Barbie is still in demand. “My daughter prefers Barbies,” Farnaz, a 38-year-old mother, told Reuters. Farnaz said her daughter thinks the dolls the government approves are ugly and that she can no longer purchase Barbie DVDs either.
In 2002, the government allowed the sale of traditionally dressed dolls, Sara and Dara, but Tehran storekeepers have a tough time selling them and some are keeping Barbie around.
“We still sell Barbies, but secretly, and put these in the window to make the police think we are just selling these kinds of dolls,” one storekeeper told Reuters.
Although some shopkeepers may take the risk, others are saying goodbye to the blonde bombshell in order to protect their shops.