Since Barbie entered the lives of young girls (and boys) more than 50 years ago, the world’s most famous doll and its parent company Mattel have come under fire numerous times for its unrealistic portrayal of the female body.
Literally — if Barbie was a real woman, her neck would not be able to hold up her head, her body would not be able to contain her internal organs and she would have to walk on all fours.
Well, Mattel has finally taken into consideration the complaints of parents and feminist groups all around with its new update to its Fashionistas range. For the first time ever, Mattel has introduced Barbie dolls with different body types (besides anatomically impossible) — curvy, tall and petite, a.k.a. what people normally look like.
“We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty,” said Evelyn Mazzocco, Mattel’s senior vice-president and global brand general manager of Barbie, in a statement.
The Fashionistas range, when it first debuted last year, had already set the new ‘Barbie look’ in motion. It had 23 dolls in eight skins tones, 18 eye colours and 23 hair colours, even some with flat feet. This year’s update brings 33 new dolls, made up of combinations of the three new body types, 22 eye colours, 30 hair colours and 24 hairstyles.
This diversification isn’t limited to Barbie’s appearance. Stepping far, far away from the days of 1992’s Teen Talk Barbie who was infamously programmed to say “math is hard”, Mattel has been steadily introducing cool new occupations for Barbie, including Game Developer Barbie and President and Vice-President Barbie, which will be released later on this season.
For some, this Barbie update might seem inconsequential, but it’s a big step to creating a world where diversity — be it in terms of body type or race — is celebrated, and where girls can grow up learning that beauty does not mean being a tall, skinny, blond white girl.
You can buy or pre-order the new Fashionistas Barbie here.