Realistic Barbie Body Is Mattel’s Most ‘Drastic’ Makeover Ever, With Curvy, Tall, And Petite Dolls

Barbie Doll
Mattell has a new line of Barbies for a new generation of girls. Photo courtesy of Mattel Barbie, screenshot

Women come in all different shapes and sizes, and Mattel has finally set out to reflect reality. On Thursday, the company announced on its website the new Barbie line will include tall, petite, and curvy variations, along with seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, and 24 hairstyles. The alterations come after introducing moveable ankles for Barbie in order for the doll to wear flat shoes for the first time since she hit shelves in 1959.

She began as a glorified piece of plastic with a tiny waist, impossibly long legs, and impeccably painted on makeup. But the perfect Barbie will soon be a treasured toy of the past, as a new generation makes way for personalization. Mattel’s says its ongoing mission to improve and foster a healthy self-esteem in girls who use the company's dolls.

“We have to let girls know it doesn't matter what shape you come in, that anything is possible," said Tania Missad, director of consumer insights for the doll line, in a video  on Mattel’s Barbie site. 

A 2006 study found girls who were exposed to Barbie reported lower self-esteem about their bodies and a greater desire for a thinner shapes compared to girls who had been given dolls that reflect larger body types or no dolls at all. Barbie’s body represents more than just a play thing. The doll could influence malleable young minds of girls, who will one day grow into teenagers, and women with a variety of waist sizes and skin tones.

Robert Best, the senior director of Barbie Product Design, said in the website’s video: "This is radical because we're saying there isn't this narrow standard of what a beautiful body looks like." 

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