Barbie, the tiny-waisted-busty-blue eyed creation of Mattel, is on the cover of Time magazine and she has a question for all of us:
“Now can we stop talking about my body?”
It’s no secret that for the past 57 years Barbie has gotten a bad rap for being too perfect. In fact, there is a pretty eye opening article (it’s a few years old but still applies) by Galia Slayen entitled, The Scary Reality of a Real-Life Barbie Doll, in which Slayen points out that if Barbie were an actual women, she would be 5’9″ tall, have a 39″ bust, an 18″ waist, 33″ hips and a size 3 shoe. Can you imagine? Click on the link to see the life sized Barbie Galia Slayen created in order to demonstrate just how “off” the Barbie body is in relationship to a real woman.
Since Barbie was first created by Mattel, parents have always questioned her appearance, rightfully concerned that young girls would think this unrealistic body type is what they should strive for which, of course, would be something they could never accomplish.
Finally, Mattel has listened. Two new Barbie’s are available which represent a more natural body size with 20+ different eye colors, 20+ different hair styles, and is a bit busty with a bigger booty, a bit of a tummy, and more realistic thighs.
Senior vice president and global general manager of the Barbie brand, Evelyn Mazzocco stated:
“We are excited to literally be changing the face of the brand. These new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them – the variety in body type, skin tones and style allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them. We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty.”
While I think the change is a positive one, I also want to remind parents (yes, both moms and dads) that you are the ultimate role model and guide when it comes to your children’s self-confidence and body image. There will always be airbrushed magazine images, rock stars and movie stars with designer clothes, hair stylist and make-up artists, and toys like Barbie. It is up to each of us, as adults, to teach the younger generation about healthy eating, wellness, and what beauty means both inside and out.
Back to Barbie for a minute. Word on the street is that Barbie sales for the past few years have been way down as more young girls are turning to electronic games and more educational based toys like the ones created by Goldie Blox. And, I can’t help but notice that creating the new Barbie with varying body sizes is going to mean that the Barbie clothing is no longer interchangeable. Parents buying both versions are going to be have to pony up more $$$ in order to give each Barbie her own wardrobe so keep that in mind when buying the new dolls for your little girls. We all know that shoes and handbags aren’t cheap ;).