Look! Up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No! It's... a doll that some social scientists argue contributes to body image issues in young woman.
That's right! At Nuremburg's Toy Fair, Barbie manufacturer Mattel announced the release of Princess Power, a superhero inspired line featuring Barbie's super-powered alter ego, Super Sparkle.
Princess Power debuted in a display in which an actress dressed in Barbie's Super Sparkle costume descended from the rafters to introduce the toy. While Barbie has previously licensed the likenesses of female superheroes like Wonder Woman and Batgirl, this is the first time the character has taken on a superhero identity of her own.
Barbie's Vice President of Global Marketing, Lori Pantel, said the aim with Princess Power was to provide a superhero play experience that catered to young girls, saying, "Boys and girls want very different things from superheroes ... Boys are all about action, and fighting, and defeating evil. Girls want to be strong and empowering, but the difference is, they don't want to defeat the evil. They want to work as a team, and convert that evil enemy to their friend."
Think that would work on Doctor Doom or Darkseid? The Joker, maybe.
Barbie's Princess Power line kicks off in February 2015, and is supported by a Princess Power film, as well as a website that includes lessons on how to "Be Super," and a Barbie comic maker.