Barbie: More than a body?

Barbie new look

It seems Barbie has always made the headlines with her controversial body. She is a tall blonde with a body chiseled to perfection. As a child I found Barbie to be unparalleled in her beauty. It is little wonder that according to me being beautiful meant to have “fair” skin and beautiful kink free blonde hair. My best friend’s idea of beauty in contrast was simply being “skinny”.

Although Barbie alone can not solely  be blamed for our misplaced adulation, she along with her look-likes and the lack of diversity in the beauty industry had a fair share to play.

Over the years Barbie changed her dresses, professions and even skin tones but it is not until recently that she went through a complete eye opening transformation.

At the tender age of 56 Barbie has finally reincarnated into a more “realistic” body. Or 3 new bodies to be precise: curvy, tall & petite. They are still all gorgeous and very trendy. Finally a look little girls can see themselves reflected!

In a world where plus size women are finally taking center stage as supermodels (consider Robyn Lawley, Tara Lynn, Candice Huffine) this was a much appreciated and needed change. So then why the big hue and cry about Mattel updating the look of their cash cow product: Barbie?

The critics are playing down Mattel’s effort to make Barbie more realistic as a “ploy” to increase sales. So what’s the problem with that? Even if Mattel is diversifying to save a dying brand, albeit late in the game the intent is not unkind, the time is ripe and the new look is outstanding. So thumbs up to the new Fashionista Barbie’s.

Now what about Ken? Will he be sporting a 6 pack beer belly and a receding hairline soon? Or maybe just a slightly more rounded personality?

Ken

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15 Comments Add yours

  1. puppy1952 says:

    I’m not so sure that dolls have all that much influence over our self-image. My grandsons didn’t play with dolls but at 17 and 18 they still look like the Ken on the left 🙂

    1. Neha Jain says:

      I feel dolls and other images the media sets for beauty do have some role to play. How large or small depends upon how infatuated the child was with the doll.

  2. Moersalin says:

    Who is that barbie btw??

  3. James Simon says:

    Ploy for sales or not, I think this is great.

    1. Neha Jain says:

      *Nods head in agreement*.

  4. Shilpa says:

    I thought the wider variations of Barbie dolls are much needed, both for their size and their range of skin tones! It will be interesting if they do apply this to the Ken doll too or even start breaking more barriers by promoting to young boys also.
    I wrote a piece on the new dolls too, check it out http://wp.me/p5nUdn-5x

  5. srbottch says:

    As for Ken, while I don’t look like the 6-pack version, it gives me something to admire and strive to look like, ‘Six-pack Steve’. 😎

    1. Neha Jain says:

      Well good for you. Personally I loved the new curvy Barbie.

  6. srbottch says:

    Aw, Neha, curves aren’t important to me, it’s the personality that attracts me!!! (say, my nose seems to be getting longer)

  7. I’m pleased to have reached an age where all this lacks meaning, and I pity girls that grow up with these dolls as role models when it comes to their bodies. A beautiful package surely draws attention. With time the inside is what counts

    1. Neha Jain says:

      Thank you for your excellent comments. I could not agree with you more. But I do want to add that it is not the fault of the little girls. After all they are caught up in the world around them that places too much importance on the outside. In a world where cutting news is mostly “Kardashian’s” new face lift, impressionable girls can hardly be blamed for reflecting what they hear, see and experience. Age is a good teacher but it takes time 🙂

      1. Hmmm…. I suppose it depends on the news one reads or watches… Kardash who?

So cute of you to drop me a line

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