A few weeks ago, Mattel revealed their newest change to a timeless classic. On top of being anything she wants, Barbie now has more accessibility to officially look however she pleases. While she doesn’t have every option under the sun, Barbie now has three different body types, as well as different hair types and skin colors. The result shows how progressive the company has truly become.
Barbie is infamous for her original look; tall, skinny, blonde, white girl with extremely long, thin legs that would collapse under her if she were actually a real human being. With this unrealistic idea of beauty, parents have complained over how it gives their children bad expectations.
Originally, Barbie had a larger bust and a sideways glance that seemed too “adult” to parents, so the company adapted and changed the model. One thing they wouldn’t change, however, was her size and skin tone.
That could be why Barbie has had various “friends” over the course of her existence, because the idea that Barbie could be anything other than a white thin supermodel was crazy.
Ever heard of Christie? She’s Barbie’s African-American friend. How about Barbie’s friend Becky, who uses a wheelchair? These characters were designed so the company could punch their card and say they were being inclusive.
Of course there are the few who argue this inclusivity is something that shouldn’t matter and that Barbie should stay the way she is. They also worry that their children will question why race matters when presented with the new Barbies.
It’s perhaps one of the strangest arguments, because at the end of the day, they still can purchase the original Barbie. This remodeling is to provide variety and to show that anyone can look at Barbie and see themselves in her.
If one doesn’t like the idea of change, they can always buy blonde skinny Barbie, but that’s not the only option now.
Others would argue Mattel didn’t do enough, that there should be even more skin tones and various other body types.
This argument is also odd, because one can’t expect the entire world to change in a day. These new dolls can be stepping stones for something greater, but that proof takes time. It’s better to appreciate the fact an effort is being made, while keeping an open mind and a hope that they’ll make even more types of dolls.
It isn’t enough to make “friends” for Barbie because sadly, at the end of the day no one is going to remember Becky or Christie. It’s great to finally say Barbie is more than a single set idea.
One of the biggest requirements of being successful in the toy business is appealing to the consumer, and the people want dolls that are both mental and physical role models.
Yes, Barbie can be a scientist or an astronaut or a ballerina, but that Barbie was just one type of person before. Now she can be any shade and any size, and still rock those jobs, showing children that they can too when they’ve grown up.
Mattel has finally come to this realization, and it’s beautiful how they’re allowing Barbie to reach her full potential.