Barbie has been a force, drenched in pink, to be reckoned with since 1959. For fifty-seven years, girls have been idolizing and playing with Barbara Millicent Roberts (yes, she has a full name and backstory) as she jumped from career to career, stylish outfit to stylish outfit, Ken to Ken. But sometimes, even the most faithful Barbie fan (including this writer) would get tired of her signature look—blonde hair, actually insane hourglass figure, abnormally large head, feet in permanent high heel mode—and take matters into their own hands by cutting their long locks and Sharpie-ing all over their faces to make them look different, unique.
Now, Mattel is addressing those concerns about body image and confined beauty ideals by bringing Barbie into the twenty-first century with its brand-new Fashionista line. The new collection—which will live alongside other Barbie lines like “Spy Squad” and “Game Developer” once it launches this spring—overhauls the classic doll’s biologically impossible proportions and introduces three new body types: “Tall,” “Petite,” and “Curvy.” While Mattel has dabbled in the petite-sized figures before with Barbie’s little sister, Skipper, the tall and curvy lines are new frontiers for the toy company that has struggled with keeping up with society’s changing view of beauty.
Mattel’s Senior Vice President and Global General Manager Barbie, Evelyn Mazzocco, is the first to admit her brand’s former shortcomings and optimistic future:
We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty. Barbie has always given girls choices — from her 180 careers, to inspirational roles, to her countless fashions and accessories. We are excited to literally be changing the face of the brand — these new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them — the variety in body type, skin tones and style allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them.
Beyond the inclusion of varying body shapes, the Fashionista line embraces a wide variety of skin tones, eye colors and shapes, hair types and colors, and fashion styles that would have been absent from Barbie lines in the past. Shaved head and leather vest? Got it. Rihanna-style redhead with high-waisted jean shorts? Yep. The only one that seems to be missing is a #DadBod Ken, but maybe that’s part of phase two.