Maya Wilson | Contributing Writer
Mattel has spent two whole years overhauling the classic Barbie doll to meet realistic body expectations. Recently, Barbie has had poor sales, but Mattel believes that these new modifications can change that.
The Barbie doll has been running with all of the trends and fads since she was first introduced in 1959. With more than 80 careers, from being an astronaut to a teacher, Barbie has been impacting childrens’ lives all across the globe.
Mattel recently released a line of Barbies to embrace tall, curvy, and petite body types, ranging in various skin tones. Originally, the doll was constructed with a famously unrealistic body shape, pin straight hair, blue eyes, slim nose, small lips, and white skin. Mattel received negative attention over the years about the aesthetics of Barbie, and just now decided to make a change… but what took so long?
Cristie was the first black Barbie doll, and premiered in 1968. She was introduced nine years after the original Barbie. During the Black Power movement of the 60s and 70s, blacks took notice in the lack of diversity Barbie offered.
Barbie’s image had to be saved, and her public relations team was pressed to finally make her a black friend. Fast-forward 48 years, slumping sales have led Barbie to finally find friends with different body types.
Studies determined that if Barbie were a real woman, she would be 5’9” and weigh about 120 pounds. The doll was designed to allow children to practice roles they would take on as adults, painting a misleading image about their future body sizes.
In extreme cases, people have attempted to modify themselves to fit the Barbie image. A woman underwent twenty plastic surgeries, dropping $55,000 in an attempt to look just like Barbie. The doll’s image has also been reported to influence young girls to suffer from eating disorders, like anorexia and bulimia.
Barbie has obviously given children the unrealistic idea about the way their body should look. “Growing up, Barbie was the doll that you wanted to have,” freshman Synclaire Giokesson said. “If that’s all children see, that’s what they are going to want to be.”
As of now, parents are finally able to show their children that they can grow into different shapes and heights. Barbie is finally showing children that it is okay to be comfortable in your own skin.
At the end of the day, it is the parents’ job to make careful decisions on what toys they should be purchasing for their children. “Children should be exposed to a variety of different toy concepts at a young age,” junior Ashlyn Jones retorted. “Children should be able to see diversity, even within their toys.”
Quite frankly, dolls have taken a new meaning in this decade, as children are becoming more impressionable from their experiences and actions set upon by family members and friends. It only seems right to apply this transition to the items that they spend a lot of time with, and go to during times when they need comfort or a bond with something.
This new line of Barbies will help children see a better reflection of the world around them, and have a broader perspective on beauty. For more than 55 years, Barbie has been a global icon, and hopefully can continue to be one for years to come.
There is no doubt that this will also create a mass expansion of the variety that Barbies can take on, and hopefully satisfy children and collectors.
“With all of the social justice movements currently going on, I believe this was the perfect change,” freshman Leslie DelasBour said. “Adding diversity to these dolls was indeed, a very important step.”