Barbie Announces New Body Sizes and Skin Colors
Barbie dolls have faced a lot of criticism over the years for being questionable role models for little girls – and yes, it might sound weird for a plastic doll to be a role model, but Barbie actually has a lot of influence over the way American girls view themselves. Some people say the doll promotes the idea that the perfect woman is tall, thin, white and blonde, and focused mainly on fashion.
This could be a big factor in a big drop in sales for Mattel, plummeting 20% from 2012 to 2014 and continuing to fall, according to this TIME Magazine article. These days, parents want empowering toys for their kids – and Barbie is changing to reflect the times.
Mattel just announced they have redesigned Barbie to offer a range of body types. Along with the original design, she’s now available in petite, tall, and curvy versions, with many new hair textures and colors and seven new skin tones.
Not only does this let girls of all body types feel celebrated by the doll, it also boosts the company’s racial diversity credentials. The new designs allow kids to play with dolls that look more like themselves, their friends and families, and the people they see out in the world every day.
We’ve been watching Barbie make a lot of progressive rebranding decisions lately. A few months back, they released a doll in the likeness of Zendaya at the 2014 Academy Awards with her hair styled in long dreadlocks, to celebrate black hairstyles. There was also this adorable commercial declaring “You Can Be Anything,” and another for Moschino Barbie featuring a fabulous, fashion-conscious little boy, because boys can play with dolls too.
And that’s not all. Barbie has also started vlogging. That’s right – in addition to being a fashion model, a ballerina, an astronaut and President of the United States, Barbie is now a YouTuber. We probably should have expected that.