Girl Scout Troop Leaders Speak Out Against Barbie Partnership


Michael Basmajian

Nearly 5,000 people have already signed our petition urging the Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) to end their partnership with Barbie. We’re particularly heartened by the tremendous response from Troop Leaders and parents of Scouts, who are dismayed that GSUSA would accept $2 million from Mattel to promote a brand so antithetical to its vital mission to “build girls of courage, confidence, and character.” Below, Girl Scout Troop Leaders speak out against the Barbie partnership.



A hyper-sexualized doll with an unnaturally proportioned woman's body has no place associating with Girl Scouts. Girl Scout leadership sold out -- not just the Girl Scout brand -- but the community that it is designed to serve; girls and young women. It is so disappointing to read that Girl Scouts received $2 million, and in return will "market" Barbies to young Girl Scouts. I implore the CEO of Girl Scouts to reverse this decision.
Christine Schell, Troop 72579, Natick, MA

I've been a Girl Scout leader for six years, and a co-leader for six more; my daughter is a senior in high school and is in Girl Scouts. I'm writing to express my dismay about Girl Scouts partnering with Mattel to use Barbie as a marketing partner. Barbie is exactly the opposite of what Girl Scouts is all about. Please reconsider! This is a mismatch; girls are marketed about all the wrong things way too much as it is. Please reconsider!
Kim Lockett, Troop 32780, Ashland, OR

Barbie is what's known in my house is a money-suck. Products pressuring families to purchase a doll and then spend hundreds of dollars in accessories. Barbie is not realistic looking and I do not feel a "Barbie" badge is a worthy goal for young scouts. As my daughter's Daisy den leader next fall I am greatly looking forward to being involved with Girl Scouts and sharing this experience with her, however I will definitely not be encouraging her to pursue this badge. There are better skills they can learn.
Samantha Demont, Wichita, KS

I'd bet my last dollar that if GSUSA had polled its leaders before making this decision, there would be no partnership!
Kerry Deutsch, Troops 41566 and 44325, Bellevue, WA

As a Girl Scout leader and mother, I struggle to try and let my girls know it’s okay to be different. Girl Scouts have done their own studies that show that 70% of girls think that "reality shows" are real. This just goes to show the hypocrisy within the scouts, very disappointing.
Lisa Wright, Laurel, MD

I am a leader for my daughter's Brownie Troop, and there is NO WAY I will countenance the girls "earning" a Barbie patch. The idea of Barbie is completely antithetical to everything Girl Scouts should stand for: girls developing their talents and learning to be leaders. All Barbie teaches is the importance of being "pretty". I am thoroughly disgusted that Girl Scouts would do this. I will remove myself and my daughters from Girl Scouts if this is the direction it's heading.
Alisha Gale, Brownie Troop 60522, Oak Park, CA

As a former Girl Scout and a Girl Scout Leader for my daughter, I am actually flabbergasted that you would even consider this partnership. Especially knowing that 50% of 3rd grade girls are "on a diet" to achieve COMPLETELY ABNORMAL Standards that Barbie pushes in our face- even when she dresses "nice" as in the Girl Scout Barbie pictures. This would have been enough to send me straight to CampFire girls where my granddaughter will be going if you continue this alliance. I am sure you are getting LOTS of money. IT IS NOT WORTH SELLING OUT FOR MONEY. Please stop now.
Kathy Masarie, Columbia River Girl Scouts, Portland, OR

As a new Daisy leader, I started my troop to give my daughter and her friends an hour to focus on their sense of self and to help teach them to be leaders. Barbie dolls fill them with the wrong message; that looks and curves are what matter in life. If the Girls Scouts partner with the Barbie line, I think I will have to start a new club. This is so disheartening. What is wrong with the new leadership? Stop looking at the girls as $ signs!
Kim Farina, Daisy Troop 76146, Winchester, MA

 I'm a Gold Awardee and a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts who is currently forming a Daisy Troop for her daughter. This turns my stomach. Please end this partnership immediately.
Esme Shaller, Berkeley, CA

I am a troop leader and pediatrician. I was disappointed to see Barbie featured on your website. What a terrible role model for young girls! Please take down the game, printables, and other references to Barbie.
Amanda Knapp, Troop 60654, Rochester, NY

If you haven’t already done so, tell the national leaders of the Girl Scouts to cut all ties with Barbie.


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Barbie Partnership

I don't think having a Barbie partnership was a good idea. We should not continue this next year. Because no matter how you package it, Barbie is not a good role model for girls, because she encourages a physical appearance that is not attainable. Women have fought long and hard to be taken seriously as more than a fashion plate or a pretty smile. Women and girls matter! And should not be preoccupied with beauty and fashion. A better choice of a doll to pick would be Dora the Explorer or the American Girl dolls, if we MUST have a doll partnership. Better yet, don't choose partners at all until you poll all of the Member-Volunteers about it first.

My daughter is a Girl Scout

My daughter is a Girl Scout and wants to be an astronaut when she grows up. It's all she's talked about since she was five. Barbie is the only doll line that offers an astronaut doll. She has three of them. She plays with them and acts out the things she'd like to do. She's in sixth grade so too old for the Barbie/Girl Scout program, but but our council held an event a few weeks back and she ran the astronaut station. She took her astronaut Barbies, wore her flight suit from Space Camp (one of her Barbies is a Space Camp tie-in and has the same flight suit) and told the girls all about what kinds of things you have to do to become an astronaut. Girl Scouts needs to end its partnership with Nestle, which is killing babies in the developing countries around the world all to sell more formula.

GSUSA Members Not Being Listened To

GSUSA is not listening, hearing, nor understanding what its members want and need. GSUSA has lost touch with what the essence of Girl Scouting has always been. To the comment by Kerry Deutsch Troops 41566 and 44325, Bellevue, WA, you bring up an excellent point .... but I think the problem is even deeper. I think GSUSA THINKS it listens to it's "volunteers" (note the refusal to acknowledge folks as the true "MEMBERS" that they are) which they do poorly and even then, more times than I care to know about, disregard the input they do receive when it doesn't match their plan. I am completely disappointed in the leadership of this organization that I have loved for nearly 50 years. GSUSA Board of Directors - call for a No Confidence Vote on your CEO now!


Sad shame - that everyone is looking at this in a negative way. Barbies are just DOLLS. Yes they have unattainable proportions, are "fashion-plates", etc. I agree.

But Barbies are just DOLLS. In a 5-10 year old girls eyes - they are toys that they can pose, dress, play with. As a child, these dolls kept me entertained for hours (I was the only girl in the family and very few friends) - TOYS.

My daughter plays with Barbies also - she has many. (She is an only child with a creative imagination). She plays house, school, gymnastics, and yes, even holds mock girl scout meetings with them. She doesn't see the dolls in the same light as many adults do.

We have done the Barbie career patch with our troop. The girls enjoyed looking into different career options. I believe the way we handled it as a troop gave them the ability to be whatever they wanted to be as they grow up.


I agree we need to cut loose on some of the partnerships that GSUSA has created.

I would like to see Girl Scout get back to the core that Juliette Low designed.


Perhaps getting out of these partnerships would guide the GS to redesign the program and get rid of the journeys that came into place because of sponsorship.

Just my few cents.

The facts of Barbie

I am a lifer and carry 4 generations of Girl Scouts to the beginnings. Very disappointed with where you are taking Girl Scouts. Barbie is not a role model, she is an idealized composite of a woman from the 40's and has no solid value for our girls. The very image of Barbie is corporate elitism - tell me, when was the last time you saw "housewife" Barbie? And as to the research that you proposed to have used.... Let's debunk that. You see, I am a licensed behaviorist and I worked as an educational psychologist for a few years.... I went to the Girl Scout Research Institute that you credit.... And, um, well.... Let's just say that your work IS NOT peer reviewed outside of Girl Scouts, you publish your reports internally, and when I looked at the bibliography, nearly 80% of your resources were, yep... Girl Scout authors with not credible outside research. You all use each other's opinions as corporate gospel. So, I do not accept your research. Why haven't you put this to the membership and volunteer leadership? It is because you know that you would be ousted and you would lose your pension fund. Come on America... Do a vote of no confidence and break the corporate leadership. Get rid of the Barbie model in Girl Scouts the way of Studio 2-B.

Is Girl Scouts partnering with Nestle, too?

Maybe your daughter could design her own astronaut doll. I'm surprised that there are no astronaut dolls any where. I'd love my daughter to be an astronaut, but not a skinny pink sexualized one. ;)

This anti-barbie nonsense

These notions that you are all worrying about getting into kids heads when they look at Barbie are utterly ridiculous. No matter what the doll is, it isn't the image that is that is important. The imagination it sparks is important. It's one patch out of 100's your child will earn in Girl Scouts. Barbie is a role-model. So she's a little unrealistically built? She's a doll. Kids probably wouldn't even think about that stuff in their Barbie years if grown ups didn't bring it up. She's also friendly and ambitious. And you want kids growing up thinking that clothes don't matter at all? Impressions matter. What you wear to work and school matters. You tell a kid what they wear doesn't matter and it does. I'm not saying we should be pushing the brand names, but a person should take a certain amount of time to present themselves, right?

Getting back to the point, the Barbie/Girl Scout combo looks to be about introducing young girls to all the possible careers there are out there for them to aim for; to dream for. It's fun and using Barbie allows them to identify with the information presented as an extension of the world of what-ifs Barbie has helped children create for so long now. A commercial free childhood has its vindicated battles, but this is not one of them. This is harmless fun, or would be if it weren't sparking such a negative reaction. That will do more harm than the badge activity.