Finally Mattel have announced that they are launching a new range of Barbie dolls with three different body shapes, seven skin tones and 24 hair colours. Finally, our children can play with Barbie dolls that look like real people!
Although she’s long been considered the universal ideal for a woman’s figure, an analysis of her doll-size shape in proportion to a fully grown woman shows Barbie is anatomically impossible and would be reduced to walking on all fours and incapable of lifting anything.
The shocking experiment by Rehabs.com was aimed at those with eating disorders who are “dying to be Barbie.” Barbie is supposed to be 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 110 pounds, so underweight that she could not menstruate. The average American woman is 5 feet, 4 inches tall and 166 pounds.
I am hopeful that these new bodies – tall, petite and curvy – will go some way in reinforcing that all-important message that beauty comes in various shapes and sizes. The different skin tones in the new dolls is a massively welcome change too. Dora and Doc McStuffins aside, UK toy shops have, for too long, been filled with mostly white faces – something which just doesn’t reflect the world our kids live in.
Mattel say they recognised that ‘Millennial Moms’ were looking for diversity, I’m just amazed that they hadn’t seen that in Generation X. This change has been a long time coming. Mattel’s Imagine The Possibilities campaign which showed girls playing with their Barbie dolls as if they were scientists, vets, sports coaches and more was a step in the right direction, but this move goes so much further to reflect what parents actually want from a doll.