Barbie in recent years has become this byword for unrealistic body types and for decades the doll has been accused of promoting an unhealthy body image, so her slender figure has become a ‘real’ woman, yep Barbie now has a bum, meat on her thighs and a little tummy. Curvy Barbie, as she is being called, will also be joined with two other new Barbie body shapes for the Barbie Fashionista collection, Tall, which is a little tall than the original, and appears to have broader shoulders, as well as a Petite version, which is just as skinny as the original but a little shorter, I’m calling her the pop-star of the bunch, I don’t know why but when I think Petite I think Kylie and Chezza.
As well as the new body shapes, Barbie now also comes in seven skin tones, 22 eye colours, and the new range has 24 hairstyles from the uber-bright to the classic blonde. It’s this diversity that should be the main talking point, I do believe that girls and boys of all colours should be able to play with dolls that they relate to and connect with. One thing I hope is that the toy retailers stock these gorgeous diverse dolls, as from a Barbie collector who loves adding beautiful dolls to her collection, as well as having a gorgeous mixed-race toddler in her life, finding a black doll, especially here in the UK isn’t always easy.
I have to be honest, I didn’t have a problem with Barbie’s supposedly un-normal size, I always select my dolls that I collect based mainly on their faces and style, for me Barbie has and always will be a style icon and I think that’s what’s been forgotten with these new shapes.
I tried to relay my thoughts on Twitter, I don’t think 140 characters was quite enough, but I do love the curvy dolls, do you think her jawline was modelled on Gigi Hadid? Simply beautiful. I still don’t think they are realistic, but hey a step in the right direction if that’s what’s needed to educate children that women come in all shapes and sizes, then these new additions can only be a good thing, and come on you can’t deny that they’ve given a new voice to the conversation on accepting different body shapes in popular culture.
But what I think is that the whole collection needs a little style makeover as well, the fashion choices of the various body types are something to be desired. Yeah, there are a few standout pieces, oh hello Tall redheads with the most amazing curls, but overall I think what Barbie needs is a better stylist.
For Curvy Barbie why was she given such unflattering, fuddy, and kind of boring looks – some of them are just the same but in different colours? Which when I said this on social media people told me I was missing the point of these dolls and that I didn’t understand. I totally understand why they’ve added new body proportions to the doll range, but in turn, why does that mean that they have to wear poor outfits? When I say flattering, I mean that for all body shapes, we all have more flattering styles than others, people really need to stop being so sensitive about this subject and trashing people’s opinions. I, for instance, am curvy, I wouldn’t, therefore, wear that stripy vest with jeans, a T-shirt would have been better as I don’t like the tops of my arms. That isn’t a criticism of my body shape that’s just dressing for my body shape to be more comfortable, which I don’t think should be labelled bad, if you are curvy and like your arms good for you. I wasn’t, however, suggesting that Curvy Barbie needed to cover up, I’m actually loving Sporting Curvy in her Balmain-style mesh vest dress, doesn’t it look like something Rihanna would wear? I’m totally on board with that, and I’m also loving Emoji Fun Curvy, any doll wearing a unicorn gets my vote!!!
Can we all please remember that she is a doll, a toy to be played with, and if her fashion choices don’t appeal then she won’t be picked out by a child in the toy store. I do think the hair colours will help, I’m loving Curvy Barbie’s blue hair, totally making me want to change my colour, and also making me think of Katy Perry, not because of the curves but because of the hair colour before any sensitive readers get riled up!
I have played with Barbie all my life, I can’t remember once thinking that I wanted to look like Barbie, for a start I was a very flat-chested-kind-of-kid, and I never considered that I too could achieve a thigh-gap like hers, I knew that she was made of plastic and sadly my legs can’t be moulded as easily. My love and acceptance of my body came from my Mum and the people in my life, my upbringing was that I was beautiful no matter what, there was no such thing as skinny or fat shaming and the word diet was never mentioned. I love that Barbie is fueling a movement that promotes body acceptance, but I also think that people need to accept that such body issues start at home and in school and they need to be addressed as much as rebranding a doll. I don’t think Barbie is the only unrealistic doll, have you seen some of those Frozen dolls, her head is so big she topples over, how is that realistic?
With these new dolls does come another issue, if you gift a Curvy Barbie doll will a sensitive child think that they are fat? Or will giving a Tall one give a girl a complex about her height? I only say that as I was one lanky child, and will Petite give children fuel to call their friend short? I think the addition of these body shapes are great, and I can’t wait to add Curvy Barbie to my collection as she really is beautiful, but I do think the issue can’t be solved with a doll alone, but, at least, they have us all talking about the issue. I still can’t believe that in July 2015, research found that children in the UK as young as eight were reporting body dissatisfaction and that almost 40% of 14-year-old girls were admitting to regular dieting. How crazy is that?!?
I find that Barbie is much more than just her figure, she is a doll that really ignites children’s imagination, and I remember how her career dolls always made me think I could do that, granted my favourite was an astronaut, but I always loved that Barbie could do anything she wanted, and now she can be curvy, tall or petite if she wants to be.
For now, these dolls will only be on sale on Shop.Mattel.com, which does ship to the UK. Apparently toy retailers are coming in the Spring worldwide, but I can imagine that shelf space will come down to which, and how many of the new Barbie Fashionistas are picked up as they are over 30 different dolls.
I would love to know your thoughts on the new Barbie body shapes, her fashion choices, as well as your thoughts on Curvy Barbie vs the Original Barbie’s body proportions – leave me a comment below.