By Christie Kuehner
Mattel’s Barbie has made its biggest move yet. 57 years after the release of their original body they have introduced three new body types: tall, petite and curvy. Mattel responded to criticism of original Barbie’s impossible proportions as well as shifting beauty ideals by introducing Barbies that better reflect beauty ideals of 21st century America.
The iconic doll line did more to mirror real women than change their body shapes. In addition to original Barbie and the three new body shapes, Barbie now comes in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 30 hair colors, 24 hair styles and 14 face sculpts. Mattel introduced new skin tones and hair textures in 2015. Combined with the iconic doll’s further development, Barbies are better able to adopt the range of beauty in 21st century America.
In addition to releasing the new shapes and variations of Barbies, Mattel is releasing more empowering and imaginative roles. These new Barbies are powerful and show children that women have limitless potential. The roles include Fashionistas, Spy Squad, Game Developer Career of the Year and President and Vice President. The Spy Squad collection is available now while the other three will become available in spring and summer of 2016. Barbie does not limit girls to these four roles. The key message promoted with these new imaginative and empowering roles is #YouCanBeAnything.
Children are socialized through their exposures as a child and with the new and improved Barbie variations children learn that difference is beautiful. Each difference of the diverse dolls is embraced. Children are now able to see themselves, their mothers and their friends in the new variations of the dolls.
The days of the impossibly high standards of the original Barbie were limiting. It was rare that a consumer would personally identify with the look of the original Barbie. Now, with various body shapes, skin tones, hair textures, eye colors and clothes to choose from, consumers are much more likely to find a doll that reflects their vision of beauty. Children are now exposed to the truth that beauty is not just blonde hair and blue eyes. Instead, beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.
The major move caters to millennial moms, who make up the future of Mattel’s consumer base. After the welcomed change, modern women are more likely to consume Barbies because they do not just reflect one variation of beauty. The new promoted message of a broader sense of beauty will improve sales among millennial moms as well as help correct the bad reputation that came to Mattel for selling an extremely skinny doll. Barbies are now more reflective of the world children see around them. But this is just the beginning of Barbie’s evolution. We cannot wait to see what they do next…
The dolls can be purchased online at Barbie.com and Shop.Mattel.com. They will hit stores in spring of 2016.
USA TODAY: The Faces of Barbie
NBC TODAY: Barbie Through the Years Slideshow