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Babes in Toyland

Barbie is pushing 50 -- and she's not aging gracefully.  Plagued by reports of falling sales and girls who would rather mutilate their dolls than play with them, Barbie has also felt compelled to pursue legal action against the younger, hotter Bratz girls. 

Now the pneumatic blonde has another competitor -- but this time the doll's legendary curves are decidedly not on display.  Indonesian engineer and businesswoman Sukmawati Suryaman has created the modestly dressed and veiled Salma, advertised as the "Muslim Barbie," as a cultural alternative to the original.  Interestingly, the made-in-China newcomer not only bears a strong physical resemblence to her Western foremother, but she also appears to have followed Barbie's makeup tips. 

Check out the BBC report on Salma...


...and then start placing bets on how long it will take Mattel to send a cease & desist letter.