Western culture has lost another battle in the clash of civilizations as Barbie dons the burqa. Burkha Barbie, by Italian designer Eliana Lorena, will be among the dolls auctioned by Sotheby's in a benefit for the nongovernment charity Save the Children. The message to little girls worldwide: Abandon all hope.

Barbie has long been a source of controversy. Critics have taken the iconic doll to task for implicitly promoting an unrealistic body image among young girls. In 1992, Teen Talk Barbie was denounced for saying, "I love shopping!" among other things. This year's Totally Stylin' Tattoos Barbie comes complete with a tasteless "tramp stamp" on her back.

But the upside of Barbie and the image Mattel has cultivated is inspiring the notion of unlimited possibilities. Barbie could be anything a girl wanted her to be - a lawyer, a doctor, an astronaut, a homemaker. By extension, this prompts girls to develop lofty aspirations in a society that accepts and nurtures them.

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