13 February 2014 by

Barbie Covers Sports Illustrated 2014 Swimsuit Edition - And Causes Controversy

She may be 55-years-old, but that hasn't stopped Barbie posing on the cover of Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue to celebrate the magazine's 50th anniversary.

The blonde bombshell strikes a pose in a monochrome bathing costume and white sunglasses for the 2014 swimwear special, which hits the newsstands on February 18th. Already the cover is causing controversy as the original Queen B flaunts her tiny waist and elongated legs, which have so often come under criticism from body image campaigners in the later stages of her five-decade history.

Proclaimed as 'The Doll That Started It All', she stars in the 2014 swimsuit issue alongside models Christie Brinkley and Brooklyn Decker as part of an '#UNAPOLOGETIC' campaign, that SI editor MJ Day said sends a 'message of empowerment' to women. Lisa McKnight, Mattel's senior vice president of marketing explained, 'As a legend herself, and under constant criticism about her body and how she looks, posing ... gives Barbie ... and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are.' 

But branding expert Allen Adamson thinks Barbie's has made a mistake. 'The Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue is one step away from Playboy magazine,' he said. 'It is potentially sending the wrong message to girls.'

Last year artist Nikolay Lamm created a version of what Barbie would look like, as a 'normal girl', while a research revealed how the doll's proportions would leave her crawling on hands and knees as a real woman.

Check out former Sports Illustrated cover stars in the gallery above...


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