The School Newspaper of Timberview High School

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The Barbie Doll Evolves into Petite, Tall, Curvy

Hana Ali, Staff Writer

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Growing up, I’ve always loved Barbie. I watched all of the movies and collected as many of the dolls that I could. I knew other girls were pretty, but Barbie the blue-eyed, blonde-haired and tiny-waisted beauty was beautiful because dolls that look like my friends and I weren’t available. She was portrayed as a princess, fairy, dancer, mermaid and so much more. She always has looked predominately the same but now Barbie has finally done it. After 57 years, Barbie is finally stepping out into the real world.

Just last year Kim Culmone, the Vice President of Design for Barbie, defended her unrealistic body proportions because she was “never designed to be realistic” and was “designed for girls to easily dress and undress.” Well now, only a year later, Mattel, the maker of Barbie, announced three new body types and other various hairstyles and skin tones.

The big question is why now?

One obvious reason is that sales plummeted tremendously. According to cnn.com, Mattel reported in October that worldwide Barbie sales fell 4 percent in the third quarter of 2015. The company’s stock price was down nearly 43 percent from its 2013 peak.

Mothers all over the globe were also pushing for change. Since Barbie typically represents an unrealistic body image, many didn’t want the toy in their households. Suddenly, dolls like Elsa and Anna from “Frozen,” who represented women empowerment and strength, became popular.

American Girl dolls, although are much more expensive, became popular because girls could customize them to mirror themselves. However, with the new dolls and a diverse range of options, most mothers’ concerns of exposing their children to unrealistic body types and beauty standards is at ease for now.

In addition to the original, the three new body types include petite, tall and curvy. There are seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles and new clothes and accessories.

Ultimately, classrooms all over the world aren’t all filled with girls with dazzling blue-eyes, blonde-hair and tiny waists. “When half of America is not Caucasian, you have to offer variety,” Editor-in-Chief of toy review website TTPM Jim Silver said. He added, “People want dolls that look like themselves.” Silver’s sentiment is true. Children want dolls that reflect what they see in their society every day, and most importantly, that represents themselves. Barbie’s new line of dolls will boost self-esteem and push the idea that beauty truly is universal.

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The Barbie Doll Evolves into Petite, Tall, Curvy