Lawmaker Wants Barbie Banned in W.Va.; Local Residents Quickly React

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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - Barbie could get an unwelcome present for her 50th birthday: outlawed in West Virginia.

A state lawmaker proposed a bill Tuesday to ban sales of the iconic Mattel doll and others like her.

The proposal from Democratic Delegate Jeff Eldridge says such toys influence girls to place too much importance on physical beauty, at the expense of their intellectual and emotional development.

A Mattel spokeswoman did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday. The Barbie doll officially turns 50 on March 9, and the toy maker has made big plans this year to mark the anniversary.

Barbie has had her foes over that half-century. Critics say the doll promotes materialism and an unnatural body image.

Here is the text of the bill as posted on the WV Legislature website:

    H. B. 2918
    (By Delegate Eldridge)
    [Introduced March 3, 2009; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

    A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new article, designated §47-25-1, relating to banning the sale of "Barbie" dolls and other dolls that influence girls to be beautiful.

    Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
    That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new article, designated §47-25-1, to read as follows:
    §47-25-1. Unlawful sale of Barbie dolls.
    It shall be unlawful in the state to sell "Barbie" dolls and other similar dolls that promote or influence girls to place an undue importance on physical beauty to the detriment of their intellectual and emotional development.

    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to ban the sale of Barbie dolls and other similar dolls.

If you'd like to contact Delegate Eldridge about his proposal, here is his contact information:

    Jeff Eldridge (D - Lincoln)
    Assistant Majority Whip
    District 19

    Capitol Address:
    Room 212E, Building 1
    State Capitol Complex
    Charleston, WV 25305

    Capitol Phone: (304) 340-3174

UPDATE from 11 p.m. Newscast
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- NewsChannel 3 and myZ viewers, as well as visitors here at, have responded by the hundreds to a state legislator's suggestion to ban Barbie in West Virginia. As of 11 p.m., we had received nearly 500 comments here at alone.

Among the comments we received from people on the street are:

"I think it's crazy."

"It's just a doll that girls want to play with. Don't take that from the kids."

"It's kind of implying you can't be beautiful and intelligent at the same time."

"I grew up playing with Barbie, and I'm not super insecure."

"Why worry about the Barbie doll? She's been around for years. Let's worry about the unemployment here in West Virginia and things of that sort."

Meanwhile, Delegate Jeff Eldridge said he knows the bill he proposed doesn't "have a lot of teeth," but said he introduced it because he wanted to get the conversation started about brains before beauty.

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