Earlier this week, Adidas announced that it was canceling the release of its JS Roundhouse Mid shoe, which sported plastic orange shackles and quickly became known as the “shackle sneaker.” Some critics said it was nothing more than “slave wear,” and Reverend Jesse Jackson wrote that the “attempt to commercialize and make popular more than 200 years of human degradation … is offensive, appalling and insensitive.” True enough. But the shackle sneaker is just one in a long line of products that the public has found offensive, appalling and insensitive. How would you feel about a doll that breastfeeds off of your daughter?
The Lolita Bed
A spokesperson for UK-based Woolworths, which briefly sold this unfortunately named desk-bed combo for young girls in 2008, explained, “There aren’t many people in the company, in the whole world, who know about the Lolita book or films … We had to look it up on Wikipedia.”
This Chia representation of our sitting president was declared racist, because when the Chia stuff grows in, it looks like an Afro. Of course, all Chia hair looks like an Afro, not just on Chia Obama. Behold Chia Lincoln.Â While Walgreens and others stopped selling Chia Obama, you can still get one for $19.99 via chiaobama.com. Something tells me that even the prez has a Chia Obama in his collection.
Midge the Pregnant Barbie
In 2002, Mattel released a pregnant Barbie, whose detachable stomach, when removed, revealed this little bundle of Barbie baby joy. Although Northeast Philadelphia’s KB Toys reported strong pregnant Barbie sales to USA Today, not all parents were enthused. Walmart, a.k.a. the world’s biggest retailer, caved to concerned citizens, and Mattel was forced to abort Midge the Pregnant Barbie. Today, she fetches as much as $250 from resellers.
Pot leaf-shaped gummy candy, which happens to be made outside of Philadelphia, led to controversy (see above video) and national headlines in 2011. If the offended only knew that bath salts were just around the corner, they probably would have saved up their outrage.
Skechers Shape-Ups for Girls
It’s one thing to defraud grown women into thinking that a shoe can make them thinner. But it’s another thing to target impressionable young girls who don’t need any help in the bad-body-image department. That’s the lesson that Skechers learned when the company tried to unleash its Kim Kardashian-endorsed get-skinny shoe on the iCarly set.
Archie Bunker’s Grandson
Mean old All In the Family character Archie Bunker had a grandson, whose name was Joey Stivic. And in the mid-’70s, the Ideal Toy Company decided to capitalize on the show’s success with a Joey Stivic doll, which was, apparently, the world’s first anatomically correct male doll. And an uncircumcised one at that! Parents were less than thrilled. As York University psychology professor Esther Greenglass told Canada’s Globe & Mail newspaper in 1978, “Remember it’s the parents who buy dolls for their children, and many of them haven’t resolved their own sexual conflicts.”
What happens when you replace Park Place and Baltic Avenue with liquor stores, pawn shops and crack houses? Well, the first thing that happens is that the NAACP and Al Sharpton call you a racist. And then Hasbro sues you. Pennsylvania inventor David Chang found this out the hard way when he started selling his Ghettopoly board game in Urban Outfitters stores in 2003.
BebĂ© GlotĂłn, a.k.a. the Breastfeeding Doll
A doll that breastfeeds off of your child. No, really. Watch the video. Spanish manufacturer Berjuan explains on the box, “Because you shouldn’t have to wait until you have breasts before you start breastfeeding your baby.” Ah, those freewheeling Europeans. A parenting columnist for the Star-Ledger wondered: “What’s next? Bebe Sotâ€”the doll who has a problem with a different kind of bottle, and loses his family, job and feelings of self worth? Bebe Limpâ€”the male doll who experiences erectile dysfunction? Bebe Cell Mateâ€”a weak unimposing doll that experiences all the indignation and humiliation of life in prison?” But the company is still making the breastfeeding dollâ€”in 11 different colors and styles.