Barbie is continuing in its efforts to diversify its dolls, adding three new body shapes to the Barbie Fashionistas line. As well as the original Barbie body (which was adapted in 2000 to portray more realistic female proportions, including a wider waist) the dolls now come in ‘petite’, ‘tall’ and ‘curvy’ models.
The Barbie Fashionistas collection, which was launched in 2015, now has dolls with four body types, seven different skin tones, 22 eye colours, 24 hairstyles and a range of fashion styles, including the first-ever Barbie doll wearing flat shoes.
According to Evelyn Mazzocco, senior vice president and global general manager at Barbie: “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. We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty.”
The move seems like a positive step forward for a brand that has historically courted criticism, despite its success (sales reach $1 billion across over 150 countries annually). In the 1960s Mattel, the company that produces the doll, came under fire for introducing an automated voice box that said: ‘Math class is hard’ and bathroom scales that were set permanently to 110lbs (approximately 49kg). Their efforts at diversification in 1997 also failed; after launching their first disabled Barbie, there were complaints that her wheelchair would not fit in the elevator of the Barbie Dream House and the product was recalled.
Mattel is well aware that they are in tricky territory when it comes to expanding their range and have launched a helpline to deal with complaints, but feedback on Twitter with the hashtag #TheDollEvolves is overwhelmingly positive.
The new dolls are available to order on Barbie.com from today.
From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK