Barbie was created by Ruth and Elliot Handle, the founders of Mattel Toy Company in 1945. Fourteen years later, on March 9th, 1959, they released the first Barbie doll.
Barbie was the first doll to appear and become popular throughout the years and still stay on the market till present day. Barbie has been the central role model for girls of all ages. In addition, Barbie has represented over forty nationalities. By featuring different ethnic groups, it allows people to identify with Barbies of their race.
Barbie has been the doll that we love to hate. She has the most scrutinized body that we have picked apart for decades. Her perfect blonde hair and big blue eyes have been a staple feature that Barbie has possessed. However, she has an implausible body size that has been calculated to be seen in a chance that is less than 1 in one hundred thousand. Now, for the first time, Barbie is getting a makeover in a big way that could either increase sales or plummet the iconic Barbie doll that has been around for decades.
As stated on the Barbie website, Mattel is releasing new Barbies throughout the year, including 4 different body types, 7 different skin tones, 22 eye colors, and 24 hairstyles. Barbie can now be bought in curvy, tall, petite, and original body sizes. Time magazine says the changes made to Barbie “marks the most startling change to the most infamous body in the world.”
Fifty-seven years later, the Barbie doll has been transformed into different body figures that is commonly seen in societies worldwide. Now that Barbie can be bought featuring commonly found body types, it will most likely have a greater impact on children and allow them to know that Barbie’s original body is not the “perfect body”.
People in the past have grown up with Barbies featuring a specific body standard for women. It is amazing that they are releasing Barbies with more realistic features and body sizes, something that is so different from what we are used to seeing as the perfect, “Barbie doll figure”. After these dolls are released, future generations could possibly see a different Barbie doll size, such as curvy, tall or petite as the perfect, ideal body type.
Junior Danielle Harrington says, “As a woman, I think it’s great that the new Barbies portray women in a more realistic way! Imperfection is beauty, and the more young girls that realize that, the better” On the other hand some people are upset and question the change that Mattel Toy Company is bringing about by the change of Barbie’s body. Sophomore Robbie McIntire Jr. says, “the original Barbie has and always will be the aim for beauty even as unrealistic that goal may be. She is an American icon, why change ‘perfection’ ”.
With opposing views I received from my interviews, it is hard to predict how people will take this drastic change in the iconic figure. Although Barbie has been the doll that we have loved to scrutinize for her body, now that there have been changes made, there may be an unfavorable outcome for the changes made they thought would help in sales. Sales for the Barbie line could either sky rocket due to the change in a favorable appearance that the Barbies will now possess or sales could plummet because of the changes done to the “perfect” body that Barbie once had.
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