Barbie’s been a mainstay in most children’s lives since the late ’50s. According to
magazine’s latest cover story, the doll does, “$1 billion in sales across more than 150 countries annually, and 92% of American girls ages 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie.” But while her look has changed subtly to suit the current fashions, she’s always more or less been the same blonde, Californian babe since the day we first met her. That is, until now.
Mattel has given Barbie a much-needed 21st century makeover as part of its #TheDollEvolves campaign, releasing three new body shapes for their best-selling toy. In a direct response to the backlash she’s received over the years because of the unrealistic body standards she promotes, Barbie will now be available in tall, curvy and petite sizes which will help the doll more accurately portray a greater diversity of women of all body shapes and sizes. The new body positive spectrum of dolls is also partially due to the company’s declining sales, which according to Time, “in 2012, Barbie global sales dropped 3%. They dropped another 6% in 2013 and 16% in 2014.”
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In addition to Barbie’s physical transformation, buyers will also be able to totally customize the rest of the doll’s look from her skin tone, to her hair color, to her on-trend outfits. The hope is that this shift towards a wider array of doll options will help all women to feel represented, beautiful, and perhaps also begin to subtly shift the conversations we have surrounding beauty and body standards. And according to the head of the Barbie brand, Evelyn Mazzocco, that’s always been Barbie’s mission. She says, “Our brand represents female empowerment. It’s about choices. Barbie had careers at a time when women were restricted to being just housewives. Ironically, our critics are the very people who should embrace us.” While the ramifications of these foundational changes remain to be seen, the one thing that’s certain is America’s most iconic blonde bombshell just got a whole new look.
What do you think of Barbie’s new look? Do you think this will help change our perceptions of body image? Do you think these new customizable dolls will make a positive impact?