Golden Barbie

What is Golden Barbie?

The “Golden Barbie” (Gullbarbie) is awarded each year to the business or advertiser that Norwegian youth deem the “best at making them feel the worst”. The award is organized by Press – Save the Children Youth Norway. Youth nominate candidates for the award, and three finalists are selected based on the following criteria; the use of one-sided beauty standards, unnecessary sexualisation and outdated gender roles in their marketing. The aim with the award is to raise awareness on how businesses, and their presence in advertising and media, make money on promoting harmful standards for a young audience.

Young Norwegians slam Brandy Melville – wins award for making teens feel “the worst”

– They should be ashamed of themselves, says Lea Mariero, the chair of Press – Save the Children Youth in Norway. 

Norwegian teens have since the 1st of February voted on who they find the best at making them feel the worst. Brandy Melville received the most votes by a wide margin. Winning the “Golden Barbie” is not something to be proud of, and the prize is a clear message from teens in Norway that Brandy Melville contributes to worsened body image and mental health.

Brandy Melville was nominated for their use of one-sided beauty standard and body image. In addition, there has recently been a report that revealed, among other things, that employees had taken diets before the top managers came to the store and were told by the central team to remove dark-skinned and overweight customers from the stores. Now the company receives a Barbie in gold and a strict message to get better in their marketing. 

Lea Mariero, chair of Press – Save the Children Youth, has a clear message for this year’s “winner”:

– Brandy Melville should be ashamed of themselves! The influence they have on defining beauty standards are scary. And it gets even scarier when we look at what kind of attitudes that are behind this.

This is the 12th time Press – Save the Children Youth hands out the Golden Barbie. The goal is to change the advertising and media industry to stop using one-sided ideals, old gender roles and unnecessary sexualization to sell products to children. Victoria’s Secret is among former “winners”of the prize.

– It is appalling that Brandy Melville uses teen’s insecurity to make money. Body pressure and mental health are linked. It is high time that the company changes its marketing strategy, and we get legislation that safeguards all children’s rights, says Lea Mariero, chair of Press – Save the Children Youth.

Teens are tired of outdated marketing

According to a Norwegian report, 7 out of 10 girls and every other boy want to change something about their own appearance, and 12% can imagine changing their appearance through surgery, doping and / or diet pills. 50% of Norwegian 15-year-old girls think they are overweight, while the real number of those who fall into the category of “overweight” in that age group is 9%. Mariero believes that this is a structural problem when companies such as Brandy Melville actively advocate that young people should feel insecure about their own bodies in order to sell clothes.

– Brandy Melville makes money marketing for a discriminatory ideal. The problem is not the size they have, the problem is that they only have one size. No matter what, there is never a size that will suit everyone, says Lea Mariero, chair of Press – Save the Children Youth.

Why did Brandy Melville “win”?

The nomination is based on their “one size fits all” policy and the lack of diversity (both in terms of body shape/size and ethnicity) in their advertisement. Recently, a report came out that shows that the company’s attitudes are not only reflected in the size of the clothes they sell. The report revealed, among other things, that employees have taken joint diets before top managers come to the stores, and that there have been requests from the central team to remove dark-skinned customers from the stores. The company discriminates against both customers and employees, and if you do not have the “right” body and ethnicity, you are not welcome.

About Press – Save the Children Youth

Press – Save the Children Youth is a Norwegian youth organization that is not associated with a specific political party or religion. Consist of children and young people between 13 and 25 years.