Barbie Gets a Welcomed Makeover
February 29, 2016
“By introducing more variety into the line, Barbie is offering girls choices that are more reflective of the world they see today.”
That’s what a statement on Mattel’s Barbie website has to say about the new Barbie 2016 Fashionistas collection. The line of 33 dolls, launched in January, offers choices of seven different skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles and—perhaps most profound of all—four body types. The collection still includes Barbie’s original figure but now there are also dolls that are tall, petite and curvy.
I was so happy when I found out about this! I’m not sure if 10-year-old, fat kid me would have begged my parents for every curvy doll on the shelf or if all of the internalized fat shame would have made me stay 30 miles away, but I really would have liked for these to be around when I was growing up. I always felt like I was breaking some kind of rule by being bigger than the other girls. I like to think that the curvy dolls would have made me feel less like that and legitimized my body. I can’t speak on behalf of those who are taller or shorter (I’ve always been very average in height), but I bet that they’re as glad as I am that their body types are now being represented, too.
The one thing I hope is that the new body types, skin colors, etc., will leak into the other Barbie collections as well. I can’t be the only one who would love to own a curvy doctor Barbie.
The best thing about this is how it proves that the body positive movement is making great strides in our society. These new dolls were created because of public pressure to have toys that were more diverse instead of ones that only represented those that look a certain way. Barbie isn’t the first to do this; Lego also recently released a disabled figure that comes with a wheelchair. I’m really excited to see even more strides to diversify toys in the future!