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Berlin Barbie bummer; feminists protest Dreamhouse opening

By Frances Cha, CNN
May 15, 2013 -- Updated 1442 GMT (2242 HKT)
Barbie The Dreamhouse Experience opens in Berlin, May 16.
Barbie The Dreamhouse Experience opens in Berlin, May 16.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • New 27,000-square-foot Barbie Dreamhouse showcases doll's Malibu lifestyle
  • Barbie is a bad role model for young women, say young protestors
  • Visitors can see 350 dolls, bake virtual cupcakes and walk a pink runway

(CNN) -- Guess it's a cultural thing.

While a Barbie-themed restaurant opening was hailed with general delight and fanfare in Taipei earlier this year, the opening of the blonde doll's new European digs is being met with quite a different reception in Germany.

Left-wing feminists are protesting the Barbie Dreamhouse Experience -- a 27,000-square-foot lifesized pink estate -- opening in Berlin on May 16.

Located off the shopping district of Alexanderplatz, the Berlin Dreamhouse is meant to show off Barbie's Malibu lifestyle.

The pink mansion is full of rooms showcasing how her makeup, kitchen and wardrobe are put together.

Barbie\'s pink digs display her extensive wardrobe and an apparent shopping addiction.
Barbie's pink digs display her extensive wardrobe and an apparent shopping addiction.

In addition to viewing 350 Barbie dolls and other displays, visitors can strut a long runway, "bake" virtual cupcakes in a pink kitchen or eat real ones in the cafe. And, of course, shell out for dolls and products in the gift shop.

Protestors from the Left Party are up in arms over the sexism and shallow materialism that they argue Barbie symbolizes.

"They present an image of cooking, primping and singing, as if it were in some way life-fulfilling," Socialist Alternative editor Michael Koschitzki, 27, told German newspaper Der Spiegel.

"The Barbie Dreamhouse is the expression of a conventional role model that isn't OK," he said.

Barbie has long been a subject of controversy -- with criticisms ranging from sexism to racism to creating body image issues for girls.

The Berlin movement has led to an "Occupy Barbie Dreamhouse" page on Facebook, which displays a cover image of a dark-haired girl saying, "I can't stand pink!" in German. The page currently has 1,761 likes and is updated every few hours.

The group behind the Facebook page has also announced it's planning a peaceful protest for opening day.

The Berlin mansion is Barbie's first Dreamhouse in Europe and will be dismantled to tour other European cities after August 25.

A U.S. Dreamhouse opened last week in a Florida shopping mall, to mixed reviews.

Barbie the Dreamhouse Experience, Voltairestraße 2a/Dircksenstraße, Berlin; +49 30 4799 7433; May 16-August 25, 2013; open 10 a.m.-8 p.m. daily; admission €15 for adults, €12 for children under 14

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