| 03.18.2018

Be Barbie positive – Mattel releases new Barbie dolls of all shapes, sizes, colors


Just in time for Body Positive Week, Mattel announced its new line of Barbies.

The new dolls are called “Barbie Fashionistas,” and they will be released throughout the year.

Claire Whitley

Time Magazine said this new line will “all be called Barbie, but it”s the curvy one – with meat on her thighs and a protruding tummy and behind – that marks the most startling change to the most infamous body in the world.”

This new line includes four body types, seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 different hairstyles, according to the Barbie website. They are calling this the evolution of Barbie. Dolls will be available that are taller than the original Barbie, more petite and more “curvy.” There will be dolls with super curly hair, straight blonde, bobbed and dyed blue.

In a promotional message released on their website, a senior director of product design said, “This is what our future looks like, because this is what the world looks like.”

I have to give Mattel props for adjusting their image to fit the world around them. The original Barbie has received generations of negative comments because no woman in the world could naturally look like Barbie. Her dimensions translated into actual body measurements would mean that the person wouldn”t even be able to walk on two feet.

Despite this, several women have undergone extensive plastic surgery in order to look like Barbie. Young girls see these real-life Barbies, just like their dolls, and don”t have a good image of themselves.

Bodies come in all shapes, sizes, dimensions and colors, and Mattel is doing what they can to capture that, even if it is a little on the late side.

Outrage has lasted years on Tumblr, Facebook and other social media. Researchers from all over the country have done countless studies on how Barbie has affected girls, and now in 2016, Mattel does something that shows they care and are a socially responsible corporation.

These developments aren”t   just about body image, though. Mattel is also releasing dolls that feature more empowering roles instead of just nurses and vets. The Barbie Spy Squad, which features Barbie as secret agents, was released in late 2015. This summer, Mattel will release a game developer, career of the year doll as well as president and vice president dolls.

The good effects of this change probably won”t be immediate. Girls may not even realize they are changing their attitudes. However, if Mattel can make the change, if they can risk changing their No. 1 doll in the world in order to change the view point of young girls, other corporations should follow suit. It isn”t just about profits anymore, it is about taking responsibility and teaching young people that it is OK to be different.

Women should be empowered before they ever know what that means, and Barbie, a simple doll, has the ability to do that.

Claire Whitley can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu or on Twitter @Cewhitley24

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