Barbie, the iconic doll that has long been
under fire for her impossible proportions, will look a little more realistic as of today.
Mattel announced in TIME magazine that Barbie will now come in three new body shapes, which
the brand is calling “petite,” “tall” and “curvy.”
Barbie will also have seven new skin tones, representing a range of ethnicities and races.
“By introducing more variety into the line, Barbie is offering girls choices that are
better reflective of the world they see today. The new 20 16 Barbie Fashionistas collection
includes 4 body types, 7 skin tones, 18 eye colors, 18 hairstyles, and countless on-trend
fashions and accessories,” Mattel writes on its website.
The new additions, sold as the Fashionistas line and available for pre-order on Mattel’s
website, won’t be elbowing aside the original Barbie, who will still dominate shelves — and
likely, sales – and remains a $1 billion-a-year bestseller for Mattel. Besides being a toy, Barbie has become a cultural
lightning rod for depictions of women, and a derisive synonym for “fake,” something that
has pained Mattel’s marketing department for years.
Barbie debuted in 1959 as a sporty, beachy California girl with vaguely realistic proportions,
but over the years morphed into a tiny-waisted, stiletto-wearing Glamazon that infuriated
many women and was frequently the subject of academic theses on feminism and body acceptance.
Under criticism, Mattel has been trying to push the doll into becoming more empowering,
or at least more expansive, in its portrayals of femininity with “I can be president Barbie”
in 20 12 and scientist and businesswoman Barbies.