Priya Elan: Barbie's new goth-punk look

Priya Elan: Check out Barbie's new look. We blame the parents. And Avril Lavigne

The Hard Rock Cafe is known for a few things: dithering over the minimum wage, selling something called Joe Perry's Rock Your World Quesadillas, and cabinet displays of gold discs for Boston's More Than A Feeling, as well as Peter Frampton's favourite frightwigs.

What it's less known for is its range of merchandise which - while we're not saying it's tacky and ugly - makes that picture of Jordan in her shocking pink dressage look classy.

The newest addition is Goth Punk Barbie, which looks like a cross between the Distlillers' Brody Dalle and one-time Corrie goth Rosie. To quote the description on Hard Rock's website, it "features a short ruffled skirt, fishnet stockings, fingerless gloves and a lace-up corset". Oh, and an electric guitar.

While we're still reeling from the existence of the Katy Perry doll (perhaps they could, you know, kiss each other. I Kissed A Post-Feminist Icon Of Sublimation, anyone?), this is just another example of big business (Mattel, in this case) learning that in 2008, goth-tween ("gween"?) can pay.

The movie version of emo teen-lit fave Twilight is topping the US box office. And who could forget Diana Vickers's various kohl-heavy "looks" on this year's X Factor? OK, she could be singing Boom Bang-a-Bang, but the goth intent was clearly there. Elsewhere, Disney has even made its latest star Demi Lovato in the image of Avril Lavigne (the queen of faux goth-punk). And to symbolise the passing on of the skull and crossbones-emblazoned baton to the younger generation, Avril joined Lovato and the Jonas Brothers onstage earlier this year for a version of, appropriately enough, My Happy Ending.

It's amazing to think that Lavigne - who elevated faux punk to an artform with the simple line "He was a punk/She did ballet/What more can I say?" - could birth a whole cultural movement. Truly the day when the person who said, "I created punk for this day and age. Do you see Britney walking around wearing ties and singing punk? Hell no!" can wield so much influence is a great one.

But wait, Goth Punk Barbie, there's trouble on the horizon.

With the Daily Mail at the height of its powers following its post-Sachsgate victory, surely the newspaper which hilariously called emo a "sinister cult" will campaign to have Goth Punk Barbie taken off the shelves. Perhaps it will see to it that Barbie stops "going through this silly phase" and gets back to doing what she does best: feigning a toothy grin despite chronic back pain (brought on from her oversized breasts) and a split personality disorder (from pretending to be a doctor, vet and/or ballerina astronaut).

Just wait until the paper finds out that Goth Punk Ken is a My Chemical Romance fan. No sooner can you say "Suicide death cult toy somehow linked with death of Diana" than it will be removed from all Hard Rock Cafes the country over, only to reappear a few years later in Bride Of Chucky 2: The College Years.


Priya Elan

The GuardianTramp

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