After being around for 57 years, Mattel has decided that it is finally time to diversify the iconic Barbie doll even further. On Thursday, Mattel announced that the dolls will be available in petite, curvy, and tall sizes.
This is pretty big news, especially since researchers said that the traditional thin and blonde dolls had a psychological impact on the young girls who play with them and see them. Body image and body shaming have been two heavily talked-about topics, mostly due to the rise of social media platforms like Instagram.
This change from Mattel is a message to children and young adults that we live in a diverse world where beauty has several forms. Researchers have realized that even though Barbie is not a real person, she has often been considered a role model for young girls. Now that Barbie will come in different shapes and sizes, her role of role model will make a better and more positive impact.
This is not the first attempt Mattel has made at diversifying the Barbie doll. Last year, Mattel created the “Fashionista” Barbie line. This line features over 20 dolls that have different complexions, facial structures, hair colors, hairstyles, and eye colors. The “Fashionista” line has been a huge success and Mattel hopes the new body types will be a success as well.
I think this is a pretty big accomplishment for Mattel. I played with Barbie dolls when I was a child, however, I never saw Barbie as a role model or the ideal body image. I simply saw Barbie as a toy for the most part. The only negative impact Barbie dolls had on me was that it gave me the idea that lighter complexions were better than darker complexions. This was mostly due to the fact that the commercials would put the dolls with the lighter complexions in the front and would not always feature the dolls with darker complexions.
Luckily for me, I stopped thinking this within a matter of a couple of months after my parents had a talk with me sister and I. I think it is important for parents to talk to their children about these topics because they have a bigger influence over their children than any inanimate object.