Barbie’s new bod causes a buzz


Elena Guardia

The new Barbie Fashionistas are displayed in Walmart.

by Elena Guardia, Reporter

On January 28th, 2016, iconic doll Barbie got a makeover. There is now a Barbie who looks like everyone, in every shape size and color. Barbie now comes in 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, seven different skin colors, a flat foot, and of course three new body shapes in addition to the original doll; tall, curvy, and petite. These new Barbies are apart of the Fashionistas line.

Mattel hopes this makeover is a step to teaching young girls that all body types are beautiful, and that diversity is in. During an interview with CBS, Mattel President and COO Richard Dickson said,  “What Barbie looks like — her body type, her ethnicity, her career this is all part of the evolution of the brand and what we believe is the right conversation around the world to have with kids today.”

Barbie, took the toy market by storm after her debut in 1959. After almost 60 years she has remained a trend-setting fashionista, with a mission to encourage girls to pursue their dreams. For years, Mattel, her manufacturer, has been criticized for Barbie’s one-size doesn’t-fit-all body image.

For example inn an article published by Pacific Standard the reporter said, “Barbie is just one of countless influences in girls’ lives that stresses the unrealistically thin figures Western culture expects of them.” 

Licensed clinical psychologist and professor at Gallaudet University, Dr. Mary Hufnell, PsyD, thinks that toys, and Barbies specifically, can have a large effect on how children view themselves. “I think the exposure has a profound effect on how kids internalize what’s valued and what is expected by our society and culture.”

Senior Kate Mannarino was one of the many girls who played with the popular doll. “Barbies did give a very unrealistic expectation of what a girl should look like, especially at such a young age. Personally I didn’t know any better and didn’t realize how unrealistic her body type was.”

While no doll is the cause of body image issues studies have come out linking eating disorders and self image issues to Barbie products. This might be the reason behind Mattel‘s sales be dropping 14% in the past quarter, and overall since 2012 due to boycotts, and lack of support. Once loyal customers are now supporting other toys with more variety, like American Girl Dolls.  However, it is important to note that Barbie dolls are a reflection of society’s value system at the time–just as Bratz represented fashion of the early 2000’s.

The new Barbie release has grabbed the attention of famous celebrities and everyday young American women. Even popular actress, Queen Latifah commented on Barbie’s new body; “I needed her long ago,” Latifah said during an interview with People Magazine. She described the change as “ground breaking.”

Mannarino hopes the new Barbie will help change the stigma that traditional Barbie is the only beautiful body, “The new Barbies are the greatest change for girls. It demonstrates all realistic body types now and shows that no matter what shape, size, color of your skin, or body type you have, you are still beautiful.”

The new Fashionista Barbies can be ordered online on the Barbie website or purchased at a local toy carrying stores such as Target, Walmart, and Toys”R”Us.