08/14/2001 at 12:00 AM EDT
In a landmark ruling, one of the world's most famous -- and utterly chaste -- blondes is now free to go naked. A federal judge in L.A. on Monday ruled that Barbie may appear in sexually explicit or controversial artistic photographs, reports the Associated Press, which quotes legal experts calling the decision "a blow" to Barbie's manufacturer, Mattel. Two years ago, the company sued Utah artist Tom Forsythe for parodying Barbie dolls in his work. (He had said that his photos were meant to skewer the stereotyping of women.) But U.S. District Court Judge Ronald Lew decided that Forsythe's free speech outweighed the company's trademarks and intellectual property rights as they relate to the 42-year-old doll. "The ruling doesn't mean it's open season (to exploit products by) Mattel," Forysthe's attorney, Simon Frankel, told reporters. "It means there is a certain amount of breathing room for artists who want to use a commercial symbol that has tremendous cultural meaning, for purposes of artistic expression." Adrian Pruetz, an attorney for Mattel, was not immediately available for comment Monday, says AP.