The world’s most iconic doll, beloved for over half a century is about to go through her biggest makeover yet. Makers Mattel are releasing Barbie in three new body shapes so she can finally reflect the bodies of real women.
It’s no secret that Barbie has long been the target of criticism over her body shape. For 56 years she has remained unrealistically proportioned but undeniably perfect and many have questioned the influence this has on young girls and their own developing sense of body image. Mattel have responded by making Barbie more career oriented, or putting her in flat shoes, but this new makeover tackles the body image debate head on.
Barbie will now be available in tall, curvy, and petite, alongside the original body shape. These new shapes don’t come with new backstories or names – they are all Barbie. All will be available with the original Barbie facial features and blonde hair, all share her same story and character, the only difference is which shape your Barbie takes.
— Barbie (@Barbie) January 28, 2016
This reinvention has taken two whole years of work from a super secret design team at Mattel titled Project Dawn. They did a good job at keeping the changes under wraps as the announcement is creating a whirlwind reaction in the toy world.
The new Barbie versions will be available as part of the Fashionista line that also contains seven skin tones, 22 eye colours, and 24 new hairstyles alongside the original Barbie style. Certainly this is Mattel’s biggest step towards delivering a doll that reflects the diversity of real women. The effect this will have on the young girls who grow up playing with Barbie is yet to be seen, but many are hopeful of positive change.
The new-look Barbie dolls are available in the US from today and are expected to hit Australian toy stores in early March.
For me, the change means I might actually buy my daughter a Barbie one day. Previously I wouldn’t have considered the purchase but the new diverse range is appealing and I feel particular affinity to the lovely curvaceous model. What do you think – will this makeover bring Barbie back in mode or is she done and dusted?