Barbie Gets a Realistic Makeover

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Her body has been scrutinized for decades, and now finally, Barbie is coming in all shapes and sizes. It was announced yesterday that Mattel have announced that they are adding “tall, curvy and petite” body shapes to its Barbie line-up. There will also be seven different skin tones and twenty-four new hairstyles.

Tania Missad, Mattel’s director of global brand insights, told the Telegraph “we were seeing that Millennials are driven by social justice and attracted to brands with purpose and values, and they didn’t see Barbie in this category.”. Too right we are. “There will be people who say we haven’t gone far enough, or people who ask what’s next, question our commitment to this” Missad added “Barbie is a lightning rod for conversation, and of course, there will be a backlash”.

As someone who is 5’2, I’m thrilled that we are getting a petite Barbie but to make her more realistic, I hope she comes with trousers that go past her feet.

Barbie has been around for 57 years, and for those 57 years has faced little change to her body shape. Mattel have faced almost constant criticism for years about how Barbie is presented, last year they even flattened her feet so they weren’t constantly poised for wearing heels. Someone once demonstrated that Barbie is actually anatomically impossible if she was a real woman, she would be so underweight that she would not menstruate, she would not have enough room in her body for more than half a liver and a few inches of intestine and because of her size three feet, at five foot nine, she would have to walk on all fours. In one of the first ever editions of the Barbie, Slumber Party Barbie, she came with a doll-size “How to lose weight” book with the words “Don’t eat!” written inside, as well as scales stuck at 110 pounds. The reactions from the world wide web have been mainly positive, particularly with the inclusion of different skin tones.

Whilst this is a great thing, and Bjournal supports this wholeheartedly, should we really be scrutinizing the body of a female doll? It’s 2016 and we are still judging a woman by the way she looks, even if she is literally made of plastic. When I was young, I wasn’t jealous of Barbie’s figure, I was jealous of her life. Here are just a few of the jobs Barbie has had in her lifetime: Surgeon, Paratrooper, Army Officer, jet pilot, Ambassador for world peace, a summit diplomat, a firefighter, an astronaut, a computer engineer, a NASCAR driver, an Olympic gymnast, a palaeontologist AND, before ANY OTHER WOMAN IN THE WORLD…President of the United States. Though her body may have been anatomically impossible, for a long time, Barbie has been telling girls that they can be anything they want to be.

Barbie has always been great, and now you can get her in all different sizes, shapes and skin tones, she’s even better. The new Barbie dolls will be hitting stores in March this year. You can read some of the responses to the new Barbie dolls below.


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all images belong to Mattel

Holly Martin

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