Barbie is every girl’s favorite doll and a name associated by some as the “ideal image” of a woman. Barbie debuted March 9, 1959 and for decades her image changed only slightly. She wore updated clothes or maybe appeared with new face shape, but for many years remained blonde, white, tall and skinny.
Christie, the first African American Barbie, was introduced in 1968 and she received a makeover in the ’80s. Since then, the Barbie market has been dominated by the original white Barbie.
With today’s critical media and social groups, the Barbie brand and Mattel have been harshly criticized for discriminating against what women “really” look like. Barbie presents what many have come to perceive as the perfect example of a woman.
In 2016, Barbie decided to make a change. Mattel has now released new Barbies that include more realistic body types. You can now find Barbies in multiple skin tones that are petite, tall or curvy.
According to a report by CNN the new Barbie now comes in seven skin tones and four different body types. The new Barbies are also available with a range of eyes colors and hair styles.
Since their release this year, Mattel has garnered positive feedback especially from people hoping it will serve as a plus for young girls’ body image.
Thank you @Barbie , I'm officially excited & proud to buy my daughter a barbie one day!
— Johnalyn Peluso (@Johnalyn_Lee) January 28, 2016
Kids are also excited about having dolls that actually look like them.
These new dolls are doing wonders for the Barbie brand image as well as Mattel. Non profits like the Born This Way Foundation are giving them significant media attention.
— Born This Way (@BTWFoundation) March 19, 2016
Personally, I think this is a great move in addressing harsh public criticism about body image and Barbie’s role as a mentor of sorts for young girls. The campaign itself had solid research behind it from children and child physiologists. The website and commercials for the new dolls have been well received.
Overall, I see this campaign as successful in today’s market and I think parents will be more inclined to purchase these new dolls.