A student artist has painted black eyes, bruises and blood onto the perfect faces of the iconic dolls.
Sam Humphreys said she wanted to show the difference between how children view the world and its much darker realities.
Her project, It's A Matter Of Trust, has the tagline 'We shouldn't be taught that life is perfect.'
She said: "The dolls are part of a project demonstrating how reality actually is and that life isn’t perfect.
"I was interested in how, when we’re younger, we're led to believe that everything is perfect and how as children we are quite rightly sheltered from the harsh realities of adulthood."
Sam, 41, who is studying a degree in Contemporary Art and Design at the Writtle School of Design in Chelmsford, Essex, used ten dolls for her project.
They range from some showing the iconic toy as bruised to some being sick and others being beaten to death.
Three have been selected for a display at Leicester University called Speaking Out which looks at depictions of violence against women in art.
Sam argues that the only way domestic violence can be stamped out is by teaching children about respect from an early age.
She added: "Using Barbie is a nice way of using a toy that everyone recognises as an imagine of perfection and undercutting that.
"My children have seen it. My youngest is only eight, so I wouldn't tell her anything scary.
"She has seen a picture of the bruised Barbie but she hasn't asked what it’s all about. She could have just fallen over, I don't think it's explicit or shocking.
"If they asked me about it I would tell them, they know that some people in life are not as nice as others, I don’t shield them that much."
A spokeswoman for Mattel, which manufactures Barbie, said: "Barbie is often used by adults to start conversations or leverage a cause in society."
For more information, advice and support about domestic abuse, visit Refuge 0808 2000 247