February 15, 2012 by staff
Pregnant Midge, She is Barbie’s oldest friend, happily married and visibly pregnant with her second child — and some parents think she is a little too real for their children.
The pregnant version of Midge, which pops out a curled-up baby when her belly is opened — has been pulled from Wal-Mart shelves across the country following complaints from customers, a company spokeswoman said Tuesday.
“It was just that customers had a concern about having a pregnant doll,” Wal-Mart spokeswoman Cynthia Illick said.
She said the entire “Happy Family” set, which includes pregnant Midge, husband Alan and 3-year-old son Ryan, had been pulled from shelves of the world’s largest retailer, which has about 2,800 stores and 500 warehouse club stores.
Illick said the decision was made the week of Dec. 13.
“What we try to do is listen to what our customers want,” she said. “In this case, we decided to remove the product from the shelves. I think it was a unique situation.”
Messages left for representatives of the toy’s maker, Mattel, were not returned Tuesday.
Midge was introduced in 1963, a freckle-faced redhead and the first of a slew of friends and family members for Barbie, the blue-eyed blonde who appeared four years earlier and has been one of the world’s top-selling dolls ever since. In Barbie-land, Midge — who, like Barbie, now comes in other shades — married boy-doll Alan in 1991, and the couple has a 3-year-old son, Ryan.
The pregnant Midge, who wears a tiny white wedding ring, has a detachable magnetic stomach that allows easy “delivery” of the baby, and comes with tiny crib, cradle, changing table, baby toys and even a tiny baby monitor. Alan and Ryan are sold separately. The baby also can get a first checkup from “Dr. Barbie,” also sold separately.
An article on Mattel’s Barbie.com Web site says the “Happy Family” dolls are designed to satisfy the desire for nurturing play by girls age 5 to 8, and can be “a wonderful prop for parents to use with their children to role-play family situations — especially in families anticipating the arrival of a new sibling.”
The article, by University of Southern California psychology professor Jo Ann M. Farver, says the series “provides a way to talk about pregnancy without elaborating on the details a child can’t fully comprehend.”
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