While ordinarily, we'd jump at the chance to imagine an IRL Barbie world, these AI-generated Buzzfeed 'Barbies from every country' are not going down well.
With the imminent release of the Barbie movie, naturally 'Barbiecore' has gone wild, with endless brand collabs, Barbie manicure trends and even Barbie memes flooding the internet—we're especially loving all the Barbie VS Oppenheimer back and forth. And jumping on the hot-pink bandwagon, Buzzfeed posted a number of AI-generated Barbies, the first of which saw Barbie dolls and dream houses from every state in the US—which in itself divided users on TikTok.
On July 7, 2023 though, the publication was blasted on Twitter for sharing a follow-up article on what 'Barbie would look like in every country in the world,' and let's just say, it was a hot mess. Here's a breakdown of the controversy...
What are people saying about Buzzfeed's Barbies from every country piece?
The piece, which has now seemingly been deleted, featured AI-generated images, from a program called Midjourney, of 'Barbies' from 194 countries across the world, with Buzzfeed (as per Insider) sharing a disclaimer that said the images "reveal biases and stereotypes that currently exist within AI models," and are "not meant to be seen as accurate or full depictions of human experience."
Upon publication, readers immediately took to Twitter to criticize the images for their harmful, racial stereotypes and 'whitewashing.'
One user wrote: "Buzzfeed made an AI-generated Barbie for every country and they missed hard with some of them, but this is a different level,"
Buzzfeed made an AI-generated Barbie for every country and they missed hard with some of them, but this is a different level 🙃 https://t.co/zRbkmsznbQJuly 12, 2023
Another Tweeted: "The buzzfeed Barbies from across the world article is so weird especially since Barbie’s from like 80% of the countries they have already exist but they went with racist ai lmao"
The buzzfeed Barbies from across the world article is so weird especially since Barbie’s from like 80% of the countries they have already exist but they went with racist ai lmaoJuly 10, 2023
And a third posted: "no bc this buzzfeed ai barbie article is just so inaccurate."
no bc this buzzfeed ai barbie article is just so inaccurate pic.twitter.com/tz18kV9RnUJuly 10, 2023
A number of users also pointed out that most of the Barbies predominately had blue eyes and blonde hair, while others also blasted the inaccuracies in some of the traditional clothing, for instance, Kuwait's Barbie—which was shown in menswear. "This is men’s attire, at least do your research," another user Tweeted.
This is men’s attire, at least do your research 🙄🙄 pic.twitter.com/bAztDtaoMXJuly 8, 2023
The Barbie’s from nearly every majority white country and then some were all blonde- this AI is on somethingJuly 10, 2023
Perhaps this should be a sign to leave the 'Barbie' depictions in the hands of Greta Gerwig and her dreamy cast of Barbies and Kens...
Naomi is a Lifestyle News Writer with the Women's Lifestyle team, where she covers everything from entertainment to fashion and beauty, as well as TikTok trends for Woman&Home, after previously writing for My Imperfect Life and GoodTo. Interestingly though, Naomi actually has a background in design, having studied illustration at Plymouth University but lept into the media world in 2020, after always having a passion for writing and earned her Gold Standard diploma in Journalism with the NCTJ.
Before working for Future Publishing’s Lifestyle News team, she worked in the Ad production team. Here she wrote and designed adverts on all sorts of things, which then went into print magazines across all genres. Now, when she isn’t writing articles on celebs, fashion trends, or the newest shows on Netflix, you can find her drinking copious cups of coffee, drawing and probably online shopping.
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