#TheDollEvolves: Changes coming to Barbie franchise

Throughout her 57 years of production, the Barbie’s iconic look has never changed: tall, thin, blonde and highly improbable. For years, the makers of Barbie have received criticism for their toy’s unrealistic representation of women.

But now, Barbie is getting a makeover with Mattel’s #TheDollEvolves campaign.

On Thursday, Mattel announced a new campaign that will change the face of Barbie. According to the company, the new Barbie Fashionistas line will offer a variety of different components for the dolls in order to embody diversity.

Currently, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, seven skin colors and four varying body types — original, tall, curvy and petite — will be offered. These dolls are currently sold exclusively at the Mattel Shop website with more on the way.

“This is radical because we are saying that there isn’t this narrow standard of what a beautiful body looks like,” Robert Best, a senior director of product design at Mattel, said in a video posted to the site.

Now girls can have a doll that resembles real-life women.

“They’re (the girls) seeing the differences amongst their friends and family being celebrated,” Nicole Guice, a senior designer at Mattel said.

And the company said this is just the beginning.

Along with the makeover, Mattel plans to release new job types for the Barbie, including game developer, president and vice president, which will be available for purchase in the summer.

“I love the new Barbies,” Brittany Rossow, a junior majoring in mass communications said. “I’m glad they finally decided to make dolls that represent women in society.

“As a little girl seeing what Barbies used to look like — skinny and blonde — it made me think I was supposed to look that way and made me conscious of the way I looked at a young age.”

Now, though, Rossow said the dolls promote the notion that girls of all body types are pretty.

And although Mattel’s campaign is definitely a step in the right direction, some continue to wonder if it’s enough.

Shortly after the release of these realistic bodies, people took to social media sites to demand a “dad bod Ken,” in response to the new Barbie dolls. Others added to the clamor with suggestions of “skinny hipster Ken” and “video game Ken.”

One website took this trend to the extreme and released its own line of diverse male dolls, including the much-talked-about “dad bod Ken.” The online clothing retailer, Lyst, released a photo of their “Fashionisto” dolls, which include businessman Ken, balding Ken, black Ken, hipster Ken, and dad bod Ken.

Although the dolls are not available for sale yet, Lyst’s editorial director, Katherine Ormerod, said in an interview with Mashable, “we’ve been inundated with requests for us to produce and sell the dolls, which gives a real insight into the appeal of the more diverse Kens.”