Inside Barbie’s Berlin Dreamhouse of Horror

Amused parents and confused children looked on as spontaneous protest turned into a violent scuffle with security guards

A woman protests at Berlin’s Barbie ‘dreamhouse’; ‘life in plastic is not fantastic’ says the slogan written on her torso. Photograph: Derek Scally

A woman protests at Berlin’s Barbie ‘dreamhouse’; ‘life in plastic is not fantastic’ says the slogan written on her torso. Photograph: Derek Scally

Fri, May 17, 2013, 01:00


All was well at Berlin’s newest, pinkest attraction yesterday. A trickle of visitors headed past the miniature, manicured lawn and a fountain in the shape of an oversized pink stiletto for the front door of Barbie’s dreamhouse.

Then a young woman pulled off her top, whipped out a Barbie on a crucifix and set it alight. Topless and angry, the protester shouted: “Burn the idol! Being Barbie is not a profession!”

Scrawled on her exposed chest: “Life in Plastic is Not Fantastic.”


Scuffle
Amused parents and confused children looked on as the spontaneous protest turned into a violent scuffle with security guards.

A pram was overturned. Three-month-old baby Danilo was emptied onto the ground as his 15-year-old mother Jasmin looked on in shock. As she scooped up her child, three police vans and two police cars sped up.

Inside the Dreamhouse, an eerily cheerful series of cheap prefab cabins, another drama is playing out.

“I can’t find my supply of glitter,” announced Barbie from a screen to visitors. “I have to run, but make yourselves at home.” Young visitors wandered from one themed room to the next. In the kitchen, shelves of cupcakes and drawers of jellies betrayed her diet secrets.

“So that’s how she gets her svelte figure,” remarked a tired grandmother. “No doubt every meal ends with Barbie hanging over the toilet.”


Catwalk
In the fashion room, to a song entitled Show your Sparkle and applause from her mother, a small girl in a pink puffy dress and heart shaped sunglasses strutted down a catwalk. In the adjacent beauty room, another girl hopped on to a chair.

“We’ll do your make-up,” the make-up artists told her, “but first Mama has to give us €10.” Hanging in the air, the smell of formaldehyde gave an unintentional clue to the 54- year-old homeowner’s Tir na nÓg looks.

On and on it went, a haze of pink until, inevitably, the giftshop. But where was Barbie? Outside, seven armed police officers secured the crime scene. They collected descriptions of the vanished protesters and pieced together the homeowner’s last moments.

In the pink stiletto fountain, water gurgled over the charred crucifix. On the white gravel, lay the black remains of Barbie’s melted head.