As a part of its #TheDollEvolves campaign, Barbie is getting a makeover and I don’t think we’re alone in saying, it’s about time!
After decades of debates about the unrealistic Barbie body type (and skin tones, hair styles and even those little feet frozen into a high-heel pose!), Mattel is taking notice and making great changes to the iconic doll.
Today, the toy company unveiled three new Barbie body types: petite, tall and curvy. The new 2016 Barbie Fashionistas doll line includes four body types (the original and three new bodies), seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles and countless on-trend fashions. They are all available on Barbie.com.
Time magazine broke the news of the announcement with an exclusive cover story by Eliana Dockterman. The cover image features the new “curvy” Barbie.
“The company hopes that the new dolls, with their diverse body types, along with the new skin tones and hair textures introduced last year, will more closely reflect their young owners’ world,” writes Dockterman.
“American beauty ideals have evolved,” Dockterman writes. “The curvaceous bodies of Kim Kardashian West, Beyoncé and Christina Hendricks have become iconic, while millennial feminist leaders like Lena Dunham are deliberately baring their un-Barbie-like figures onscreen, fueling a movement that promotes body acceptance.”
The head of the Barbie brand, Evelyn Mazzocco, also gives a hat tip to millennial moms in crafting their expanded vision. “The millennial mom is a small part of our consumer base, but we recognize she’s the future,” she told Time. “Yes, some people will say we are late to the game,” Mazzocco continues, “but changes at a huge corporation take time.”
Word is that Mattel won’t reveal the new dolls’ proportions or how they came to be, but Dockterman observed some of the focus groups of mothers and daughters that helped inform the decisions.
Several little girls reportedly “snickered” at the new curvy doll’s body and some moms argued the new Barbie wasn’t curvy enough, the reporter found that most kids simply gravitated toward the doll that looked most like them.
“I do all kinds of things for my kids that they don’t like or understand, from telling them to do their homework to eating their vegetables,” Mazzocco says. “This is very similar. It’s my responsibility to make sure that they have inclusivity in their lives even if it doesn’t register for them.”
Before you rush to the stores, you might want to grab these new dolls online. For now, Mattel is in talks with toy retailers to create shelf space for the new dolls with their and their clothes and accessories.
While the company expects some backlash, they hold out hope for future generations.
“Ultimately, haters are going to hate,” Dickson told Time. “We want to make sure the Barbie lovers love us more — and perhaps changing the people who are negative to neutral. That would be nice.”