14/08/2014 16:39 BST | Updated 20/05/2015 10:12 BST

Why Barbie Is 'Unapologetic' On Sports Illustrated Cover

The last time we were writing about Sports Illustrated it was when Kate Upton was on the cover. Now another famous blonde will be gracing the mag's glossy front page... But this time she's made of plastic.

Yes, that's right. The one and only Barbie doll will be the latest in a long line of models on the cover of Sports Illustrated's 50th anniversary swimsuit edition.

barbie sports illustrated

"Barbie is a legend in her own right, with more than 150 careers and a brand valued at $3 billion," Mattel spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni told the New York Post.

"She is in great company with the other legends, such as (actress-models) Heidi Klum and Christie Brinkley, to name a few."

According to reports, the campaign refers to Barbie as "the doll that started it all," and uses the hashtag "#Unapologetic" to promote conversation around the issue on social media.

The 'unapologetic' message is a stab at critics who say Barbie and the magazine contribute to unhealthy expectations of beauty and poor body self-image in girls.

"Our girls are only so young for such a very short time, and taking one of her toys and putting it alongside sexualised and dehumanised images of women to fall under the male gaze is wrong on so many levels," editor of parenting blog Mommyish, Eve Vawter, wrote in a post this week.

"Barbie is no longer just a doll. She is a sex doll."

Obviously the mag doesn't share the same view.

"From its earliest days, Swimsuit has delivered a message of empowerment, strength and beauty and we are delighted that Barbie is celebrating those core values in such a unique manner," swimsuit issue editor MJ Day said.

What do you make of it all? Tweet us your thoughts @MyDailyUK.

Watch the in-flight video featuring Sports Illustrated models