By Sylvia Durres
Well Mattel finally got it right—sorta.
The global toy manufacturer introduced its latest line of Barbie dolls Thursday, its new “Fashionistas” crew, and they actually look a little bit more like actual, real, living, breathing women.
A wee bit more, at least.
Instead of that historic stick-thin frame, Barbie dolls will now be available in three new body types: curvy, petite and tall, sporting a variety of hairstyles and skin tones.
Creating dolls that differ even just a little bit from that classic, all-too perfect blonde giant we’ve all come to love and/or loathe is most definitely a step in the right direction, but the toy behemoth has a long way to go in reflecting all the dimensions of actual women—among them, the very same ones who trek down to the toy stores to buy these plastic mutant clones in order to appease their kids.
Indeed, it’s a vicious cycle.
We’ve heard the criticism for decades: Producing such a popular toy that’s only representative of a certain particular subset of the population and its respective hair color, body shape, size, and height—in Mattel’s “Original” Barbie’s case, blonde, busty and Amazonian-like—distorts young girls’ impression of everything from ideal beauty to their own sense of self-worth.
It gives them a distorted view of the world, really.
Nobody looks exactly like that classic Barbie! Okay, maybe a miniscule percentage do, and there are plenty of adults injecting Botox and undergoing plastic surgery to closer resemble that mold, admittedly, but still. For the majority of the population, that Barbie look is unattainable, and no one should be brainwashing our youth into aspiring to look like a plastic doll and in the process, psychologically abusing them if they do not fit that mold, and never will, simply because of who they are and what they look like.
Humans are perfect in our individual uniqueness! That’s what makes us so great!
Every woman is beautiful, no matter what their skin color, hair color, height or chest size, and so, again, while these latest “Fashionistas” are a step in the right direction, Mattel has a long way to go, and should continue creating Barbies that are more reflective, and better representative, of actual women.
It seems they will, and for that, Mattel deserves some kudos.
From the Barbie website:
“Girls everywhere now have infinitely more ways to play out their stories and spark their imaginations through Barbie. Along with more overall diversity, we proudly add three new body types to our line. Here’s a look at why we did this, and the team that made it possible. #TheDollEvolves”
“This is just the beginning. From offering products that feature more empowering and imaginative roles to partnering with best in class role models, we believe in girls and their limitless potential. #YouCanBeAnything”
Changes such as these (Perhaps even a plus-size Barbie!?) will help build self-esteem and self-worth among its target audience, and teach these youngsters a valuable lesson in the process: