In case you have been living under a rock or were glued to the spectacle that was the Iowa caucus, Barbie, the iconic doll we either love or hate (or love to hate like Gwinny Paltrow, kidding) has FINALLY gotten a whole new look.
According to Mattel, Barbie will now come in:
4 body types
7 skin tones
22 eye colors
(what, 22 eye colors? Am I reading their press release correctly?)
33 new dolls in total.
And seemingly as exciting, but unbeknownst to me, last year they came out with movable ankles so she could finally wear flat shoes. The poor girl spent 56 years wearing high heels standing on those toothpicks they called legs. Can you imagine the relief she must have felt when she slipped on that first pair of flats.
“Ahhhhh … and they are darn cute too!”, she said to herself”
Mattel decided to launch this new range of dolls after years of criticism over the doll’s unrealistic proportions and concerns that Barbie reinforced a virtually impossible standard of beauty for girls to try to meet.
Concerns? Uh, Yeah, we’ve got concerns.
As stated in a 2006 British Study, “girls exposed to Barbie reported lower body esteem and a greater desire for a thinner body shape” than those who had been given dolls reflecting larger body types or no dolls at all.
Doll play is all about using one’s imagination. Testing out ones secret wishes, dreams and real life situations. Doll play makes the world more relatable to young girls. It helps them develop confidence in their ability to solve problems and interact with their environment. It’s essentially the same as the role playing we do in our workshops and I for one am a big fan.
However, put a doll in a girls hands that looks like a super model that hasn’t eaten a carb in over a year and that imagination takes a whole different turn.
It just doesn’t make sense.
What does make sense is for girls to play with dolls that they see themselves in.
Glamour magazine interviewed several young girls about the new Barbie’s and the reviews were wonderfully positive.
“I think I can relate to them more now that they’re not all the SAME kind of person”.
“There could be a lot of people that could call themselves Barbies no matter what size they are.”
“This one looks like someone I met today”.
“The beauty mark makes a big difference and will help other kids with beauty marks feel less self-conscious.”
Gals, I couldn’t agree more.
Now if we could just get Mattel to rename the “curvy” Barbie or better yet, give her no label at all, I could fully applaud their groundbreaking efforts.
And you know dear readers … where Barbie leads, Ken shall follow.
I can’t wait to see this new line of Ken dolls in stores soon (wink, wink:)