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1990s / Teen Talk Barbie Controversy 1992
In July 1992 Mattel released Teen Talk Barbie. Each doll was randomly programmed to 'say' four out of a possible 270 phrases, such as 'Wanna have a pizza party?' and 'Will I ever have enough clothes?' One phrase raised the ire of women's groups: 'Math class is tough!' According to the complainers, the phrase encouraged the negative stereotype of girls being mathematically challenged. Even though only about 1.48% of the Teen Talk Barbies could repeat that taboo phrase, Mattel removed the phrase from further production. The company also offered to replace any doll that had it. There were few takers. The rarity and controversy of the 'math class' phrase has made it a very desirable collectors' item.