Re-imagine the Female Body ’cause Barbie Got Curves

Of General Concern | Claudia Rojas | January 30, 2016

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The doll world is about to change: This year Barbie has an upgraded wardrobe and new curves.

On January 28th, Barbie, redesigned with three new body types, hit the online market. Generations of girls have grown up knowing Original Barbie: the slim, hour-glass, and blue-eyed beauty, who has made appearances in Toy Story 2 and Toy Story 3.

Mattel, the makers of Barbie, are interested in their young customers, saying “We believe in girls and their limitless potential.” Barbie is in every little girl. She is curvy, tall, and petite (as in short).

Here is a 360° video representation of Doll 26 from Mattel’s Barbie Fashionista collection released this week:

Barbie Doll 26 is a curvy, brown-eyed, and dark skin contrast to the Original Barbie still part of Mattel’s product line up.

These changes in Barbie are preceded by a continual company profit loss for the past four years.

The toy industry just isn’t the same as it was 56 years ago when Barbie was first released. Barbie was a hit then. She originated as a replacement for baby dolls and paper dolls, inspiration taken from a German doll intended for grown men rather than children. These dolls were called Bild Lilli–Bild the German for “image,” which is exactly what Barbie has become in America.

Barbie has been icon of an ideal, painful beauty, and though her body type is unrealistic, women in the media continue to promote her thin figure.

“The toy industry just isn’t the same as it was 56 years ago when Barbie was first released.”

Shop Mattel Barbie Doll 26 on Display

The average man and woman are conditioned to glamorize thin, but shame fat in their daily lives.

Before she wrote about Mattel’s new dolls, Eliana Dockterman, culture writer for TIME magazine, dropped in on mom and daughter focus groups. From watching these groups, Dockterman learned that moms want a Barbie with a real woman’s body and face (not so much eyeliner, Barbie!). Some moms also thought curvy Barbie could gain a few pounds. Girls playing without the supervision of an adult would says things like “Hello, I’m a fat person, fat, fat, fat,” and call Barbie “chubby” in front of an adult.

Barbie’s body evolution isn’t a hit with young girls so far.

While these girls already envision beauty to mean the classic

(USA Today)

Barbie figure, at least, the girls of today have choice in what their doll will look like, if they decide to play with dolls.

Women who have had to digest the bombardment of beauty images suggesting that the female body’s not thin, not pretty enough, have more to gain from the Barbie soon to make a premier in store shelves.

Female confidence is at an all time self-deprecating low.

Dove’s Campaign for Real Beauty discovered in its initial 2014 research that out of the world’s women, 2% would call themselves “beautiful,” and in 2011, the number made a slim move to 4%. This means the women raising little girls to think they’re beautiful need an ego-boost themselves.


Make-ups are familiar to Barbie. She’s been a follower of global fashion trends since 1980. In 2002, Barbie was pregnant and recalled from store shelves. Barbie believes in experimentalism. The big question she faces isn’t what color to dye her hair, but how her body’s statement will go down in history.