Mattel, the creator of the iconic Barbie doll has announced its new dolls will have three new body types — petite, tall and curvy — as well as 7 skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles.
Consumers have pressured the company for more-realistic looking dolls for decades, and the upgrade to a more diverse product is definitely something of which the company can be proud.
However, the sudden reformation has caused many to question the sincerity behind Mattel’s new model. According to the Tampa Bay Times, “the company announced that global sales of Barbies were down 14 percent — the third consecutive annual drop.”
Sales will always be the driving factor behind corporations, and while it is disheartening, it is no surprise that Mattel refused to cater to the desires of its consumers until it began to see serious changes in sales figures.
The new toys are a perfect solution to Mattel’s drop in revenue. Not only do they fit the criteria demanded of them from nonconforming parents, they also increase the amount of merchandise each family will buy per doll.
If a child has an original, a petite and a curvy doll, the parent will have to buy three different clothing sizes to fit each toy. This marketing strategy is ingenious. Consumers are getting the diverse dolls they want and will end up paying through the teeth for it.
The topic almost immediately began trending on Twitter as people across the globe began weighing in on the issue. For the most part, people seem to believe Mattel’s inclusion of a variety of body types is long overdue, but they are nonetheless glad it’s here.
There are some, however, who criticize the change, mostly directing the hateful comments toward the new curvy Barbie. A real estate agent from Ohio, @NorthernOhioREO, tweeted “SMH wondering if the new obese … ok ‘curvy’ #Barbie comes with some free weights and a treadmill at least?! Maybe some #running shoes?”
This type of fat-shaming ideology is exactly why the new Barbies are needed. Young children need to be able to see dolls of every size and ethnicity filling their playrooms so they realize they are perfect just the way they are. Conforming to anything, be it a body type or a career, will only rob them of happiness.
Since the doll’s creation in 1959, Barbie has faced controversy after controversy from consumers who felt she didn’t accurately represent the average woman. This outrage led to the creation of career girl Barbie in 1963 and the first African-American Barbie in 1968.
It’s obvious Mattel has been outrageously behind in terms of accurately representing the average woman. However, that the company is finally changing can only lead to further advances.
The new Barbies are available for pre-order now and will be gracing shelves across the country in March. While some narrow-minded people will continue to be in an uproar over the inclusion of all women into the iconic doll’s family, the majority of consumers will begin to once again show their support to the company.
Whether the change was due to sincerely wanting to represent all women or simply making a profit, we’re glad Mattel made the switch. Though you are nearly 57 years late, welcome to the realistic world of women, Barbie. We can’t wait to see what else you have in store for us.