Barbara Millicent Roberts has come along way from her original blonde hair blue eyed shifty af resting bitch-face look of 1959. It turns out the real reason she looked like that, was her way of throwing shade at the doll makers for not being an accurate representation of women. After 58 years, Mattel plans to change that by introducing three new Barbie body types that come in tall, petite, and curvy.
The long overdue innovation is an initiative for young girls to be accepting of their own body types as well as others to try to cut down on bullying. Studies have shown that the body perception of girls who grew up with barbies is noticeably worse compared to girls who preferred other toys. From day one whether Barbie is feminist or not has been a hotly debated argument. Whether her impossible physical stature and focus on beauty over brains out shine her impressive resume has been hotly debated, as well as her questionable fashion.
Feminists at Berkley burned Barbie in the '70s. The color of her skin, eyes, and hair as well as her shape were not indicative to the girls who buy Barbie in all 150 countries. Recently, Mattel has made a push to be more inclusive by producing Barbies with a vast variety of skin colors and hair textures as well as adjusting her feet to accommodate heels or flats.
Even with the push for more representation, the company is undeniably facing criticism in every which way. Some people feel the doll deemed "curvy" is not curvy enough. The company has also run into turmoil when choosing a non-offensive phrasing of each body type in every language. Another problem that Matell might run into is one size fits all clothing. Thinking back to the Rosie O'Donnell Barbie doll of 1999, (the only other plus sized doll that I can think of) , there was an issue due to the fact that Rosie had to stay in the clothes she was given. This undoubtably limited the use of the Rosie Barbie and possibly lead to the "shelving" of the idea of different shaped Barbies, until now. The debate of whether or not Barbie is a good role model for young girls is still open, however, I think we can all agree, the intention is there, and this is a step in the right direction.
Images via Mattel
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Courtney Bissonette is a New York based writer and improv comedienne. She writes primarily about movies, pop cultures and feminist heroes. She gets along best with old people. She has seen more old movies than your grandma, probably. Salt from Salt n Pepa once took her Trick'r Treating. You can follow her on instagram at @gddamnitcourtney or twitter @courttette