However, it seems that the current shortage of Barbies inTehran is because the Morality Police has been ordering their removal, placing ban on selling or displaying them. This time, of course, the excuse is that Barbies impose American culture on young girls and force them to starve themselves in order to be as thin as her.
What a pity, you might say, thinking Iranian girls (and some boys perhaps?) will miss out on their first the experience of Barbie dolls. But do not worry, Iranians always find a way to get around the restrictions:
According to a Persian news site, a shop owner hides his Barbie dolls behind a big doll with dark clothing and sells them in secret.
Sara and Dara are also an alternative to Barbie. Initially launched to promote Iranian authenticity, Dara and Sara, as Iran’s national dolls, could serve as a replacement for Barbie and Ken. I must note that they are so expensive that not every one could afford them. So, can you really blame the families who choose Chinese-made Barbies instead?
But saving the best for last, someone has created a homegrown replacement for Barbie: the Dastjerdi Doll. According to Persian satire blog, Gordab, this doll is the best replacement for Barbie is made (photoshoped really) by using the head of Iran’s minister of health, Marzieh Dastjerdi.
Once again the witty, humorous Iranian sarcasm deals with yet another ridiculous government policy. The blog post reads:
"Some Ayatollah claims Barbie make young girls undisciplined and unrestrained and it is the main reason for divorce among families. Father of the family looks at Barbie and compares the kind and loving mother of the family with Barbie and desires Western women instead. Thus, it is better that instead of Barbie, parents buy their daughters Dastjerdi Dolls!"
What would you do?