“Now can we stop talking about my body?”
In most recent news, Barbie unveiled a new line of dolls featuring different body types, hairstyles, eye colors, skin tones, and facial structures in a commercial, and in response she landed and gracefully stood on the cover of Time magazine showcasing her new curvy figure.
As opposed to the controversial slender, blue-eyed blonde iconic doll, the new Barbies are insanely celebrated. With three different body types (curvy, tall, or petite) the evolution of Barbie is just the beginning for the revival of Mattel.
Time magazine published a rather exciting article discussing the new dolls and a majority of the controversies Barbie has faced in her lifetime.
“Mattel argues that the criticism was misplaced—that Barbie was a businesswoman in 1963, an astronaut in 1965 and a surgeon in 1973 when 9% of all doctors were women. “Our brand represents female empowerment,” argues Dickson. “It’s about choices. Barbie had careers at a time when women were restricted to being just housewives. Ironically, our critics are the very people who should embrace us.”
Barbie has hit major criticism for her “too perfect” image over the years despite her empowerment of women with the famous slogan, “If you can dream it, you can be it!”
The new line is the biggest effort Mattel has taken since Barbie’s birth in 1959, yet critics still believe the curvy Barbie is still too thin even with her new curvy body. However, this apparently was not true not to the children Mattel used in their experiments with the new dolls. When the children were handed the new dolls, they immediately realized the new one was “a little chubbier” and they didn’t even like to use the word fat, instead one little girl spelled out the word to describe Barbie because she didn’t want to hurt the dolls feelings. However, as soon as the adults left the room, they began to laugh at Barbie’s body as they undressed her.
“We see it a lot. The adult leaves the room and they undress the curvy Barbie and snicker a little bit,” says Tania Missad, who runs the research team for Mattel’s girl’s portfolio. “For me, it’s these moments where it just really sets in how important it is we do this. Over time I would love it if a girl wouldn’t snicker and just think of it as another beautiful doll.”
The children’s notice in the dolls body types is what helped fuel Mattel’s challenge. Their biggest aim was towards the millennial parents who after all, are the ones buying the dolls for their children.
Despite all, Mattel doesn’t seem bothered by the idea of their brand losing its recognition. Mattel president and COO Richard Dickson is well aware of the critics and those hating the idea of taking away what makes Barbie an icon.
“Ultimately, haters are going to hate,” Dickson says. “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.”
However the question remains, what negative thoughts are the children going to have when their parents hand them a “curvy” doll suggesting “this one looks more like you”? What if the new dolls don’t sell as rapidly? Are they still sexualizing dolls? What other complaints will be driven once the dolls hit the shelves?
Well, it looks like we might just have to wait.
The 29 new unique dolls will be sold as part of the 2016 Barbie Fashionistas Collection which is due to hit shelves in the spring. The collection boasts four body types (including the original), seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, and 24 hairstyles. Their retail is at $9.99 and can be pre-ordered on Barbie’s website with delivery starting as early as next month.
See the new commercial here: