Barbie raises its standards

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Barbies www.usatodaydotcom
Barbies www.usatodaydotcom

Barbie has evolved since the last 57 years from blonde to brunette, homemaker to astronaut. But this time, Barbie embraces different standards of beauty by coming out with three different body types – Tall, Petite & Curvy alongside new models of the original silhouette. The new line also includes a wider range of hairstyles, skin tones and eye colour.

If you were a kid of the 80s or 90s, I am sure you have played and whiled away your time by dressing up and dressing down, combing and trying different hair styles with your personal Barbie doll that was your style icon or diva as a kid. But it didn’t in anyway resemble you or make you feel like it was an impersonation of you.

Well, times have changed and Barbie isn’t as popular as she used to be, so the makers of the classic toy were called upon in case of this ‘emergency’ to make some major changes. Barbie sales fell 20% from 2012 to 2014 and continued to fall in 2015. Lego surpassed Mattel as the biggest toy company in 2014, and Elsa dethroned Barbie as the most popular girl toy. The head of Barbie, Evelyn Mazzocco, recognizes that the millennial mom favours toys that she views as empowering to her children. So it’s only natural that Barbie becomes more body-positive.

Barbie released three new body types – curvy, petite and tall – and a variety of different features on Barbie.com. The new collection will be hitting stores on the 1st of March and will be sold alongside the original Barbie. There will be a total of 33 dolls which will roll out by the end of this year. Mattel aims to have the dolls better reflect what girls see in the world around them.

The introduction of curvy Barbie has to be the most striking evolution of them all. Curvy Barbie has thick thighs and a protruding tummy and bum. Good luck fitting her into your average Barbie’s clothes! In the midst of all these changes, will Barbie really remain Barbie or will the young fans be drawn to other Barbie’s who look more like them? It’s no doubt that offering a doll which young children can relate to makes kids more comfortable in their skin but if media continues to represent the normal cliché type of beauty despites Barbie’s efforts, will little girls prefer the original Barbie for her idealized features that mainstream media constantly perpetuate?
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