Barbie dolls have long been thought of as a grotesquely stereotypical "perfect" woman in some circles--those disgusted with Barbie's perfect proportions note that an anatomically correct life-size Barbie would be 7 feet tall with a 40-inch bust, 22-inch waist and 36-inch hips...and her legs would be 5 feet long.  But, it took an incident in the late 1980's to bring mainstream attention to this issue for the first time:

Mattel released a Teen Talk Barbie which could say over 200 different sentences.  Among these were "Math is hard!" and "Let's go shopping!"  Activist groups throughout the country were outraged that Mattel would program Barbie with such overtly sexist sayings, and the doll became the butt of countless jokes in the media and on the late night talk show circuit.

Tall tales of a "Barbie Liberation Organization" quickly spread, spinning stories of groups that would go into department stores and switch the speech chips in the Teen Talk Barbie and Talking Duke G.I. Joe dolls--consumers were allegedly shocked to find Barbie screaming "VENGEANCE IS MINE!" and Dukes who pondered, "Let's plan our dream wedding!"

Mattel quickly pulled the dolls from the shelves and reprogrammed Barbie without the offensive sayings, but the damage had already been done--many more people than ever before began to see that Barbie might just be everything that its opponents had been claiming for many years--materialistic, impossibly proportioned, and subservient.