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Barbie To Appear In Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

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You have to admit, she looks great for her age.

Barbie is posing for Sports Illustrated's 50th Swimsuit Issue, and she's "Unapologetic" about it.

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That's the theme of her 22-doll spread in next week's special annual issue put out by the magazine. The featured shot will show Barbie in an updated version of the striped one-piece swimsuit she wore for her 1959 debut, according to a press release.

"From its earliest days, Swimsuit has delivered a message of empowerment, strength and beauty and we are delighted that Barbie is celebrating those core values in such a unique manner," Swimsuit issue editor MJ Day said in the release.

But as AdAge pointed out, Barbie and the magazine have received their share of brickbats for presenting an unrealistic body image to most women. The doll's parent company, Mattel, has countered with the "Unapologetic" campaign.

With an estimated worth of $3 billion, Barbie walks, so to speak, among modeling giants such as Heidi Klum and Christie Brinkley, a Mattel spokeswoman explained to AdAge. "As a legend herself, and under criticism about her body and how she looks, posing in 'Sports Illustrated Swimsuit' gives Barbie and her fellow legends an opportunity to own who they are, celebrate what they have done, and be unapologetic," the spokeswoman said.

(The company recently defended Barbie's proportions, saying they make it easier for little girls to dress her.)

A new Barbie is also being launched with the campaign.

The press release boasts that the S.I. Swimsuit issue reaches more men 18 to 34 than the Super Bowl, but that seems a little off-target for Barbie's demographic. Still, she's really rocking that retro one-piece number, isn't she?

The magazine hits newsstands Feb. 18.

CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this post said Barbie posed for her cover shoot in the swimsuit she wore for her 1959 debut. She is actually wearing a new version of the suit.

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