This story, Barbie Gets Groundbreaking Makeover (Now She’s Curvy! Or Petite! Or Tall!), was a long time in coming. Back in my Barbie days, not much was said about her unrealistic measurements. There was a failed attempt to get her sized 0-2 measurements in the late 1990’s, even after the lady who tried to look like a live Barbie had to quit getting surgeries. To me, this was dangerous, like the stick figure form that the 60’s model Twiggy represented.
Now the more than 10 year debate has ended because Mattel released dolls with three additional body types, skin colors and hair designs. There’s one for diversity in toys! Dolls of color were limited mainly because the cost of the color itself and the look they gave them. On one of the television shopping channels, one of the callers made a remark as to why African-American dolls were made in not so attractive images (ugly). Most of the children on the mini-series “Separate, But Equal” said the black dolls they saw looked ugly. That made them feel inferior, which was what society wanted them.
Let’s face it, even images like Aunt Jemima, Uncle Ben and the face on the Cream of Wheat Box went through a major transformation from a slave or servant to chief cook. But they were still the stereotypical type kept in the kitchen. the man behind Chef Boyardee was already a cook, the only thing that changed was the phonetic spelling of his Italian name.
Mattel wanted this diversity to mirror their young purchasers. The toy company’s sales were sliding too, another reason the toy giant made this change. This blogger was glad there was a long time period between the issue of diversity and the psychological study. It showed they didn’t cave to political pressure. There were still the Dawn Dolls made in the African-American image of the 1970’s, similar to Diahann Carrol. She looked more pixie-like though with the sheer dress and short curly hair.
Mothers of young daughters didn’t have to worry about how much curvier the new doll was. Younger consumers were more apt to buy dolls that resembled themselves. This was a good thing for their psyche at least. It was this blogger’s hope she was bigger than size 10.