Mattel stirred controversy because Barbie got a photo shoot and spread in the latest swimsuit issue for Sports Illustrated. (Who wouldn't want to change places with her or a tan, globe-trekking supermodel for a day?!)
The visual messages being communicated could have negative connotations. Barbie isn't a real person. A woman is substituted for a doll. Dolls are toys. Toys are to be played with. Get the picture? This is a brand collision for Barbie.