Mattel Breaks the Barbie Mold – And for Good Reason

A while back we published a post highlighting some Barbie alternatives – more realistic dolls that have more realistic bodies so real children have realistic ideas of beauty. We can’t claim that Mattel was listening to us, but something was in the works because new Barbies have just been released that don’t look exactly like the oh-so-untraditional one we are all used to seeing.

curvyMattel has been advertising their new line of “more evolved” Barbies. (Pre-sale started about a week ago) The new dolls have “curvy”, “tall”, and “petite” body types and some ethnicity involved that was otherwise absent from the Barbie line. The new line has seven different skin tones, 22 different eye colors and 24 hairstyles ranging in length, color and curl.

“We have to let girls know that it doesn’t matter what shape you come in, that anything is possible,” explains Tania Missad, Director of Consumer Insights for Barbie. The shift in Barbie’s physique comes after nearly 50 years of the doll being on the shelves and much criticism over her unnatural waist and breast size as well as Mattel’s consistent “Barbie-girl” messaging that includes dumbed down phrases and lots of talk of partying. In a world where girls are getting more involved in Science and Tech, the old Barbie just wasn’t cutting it.

In response to the new feminine figures, Twitter users started requesting “dad bod Ken” and other such renditions of Barbie’s other half – who still comes in very limited representations of manhood. A more realistic Ken, as one Twitter user mentioned, would be a short bearded guy with a beer belly.

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Mattel didn’t stop at the new body releases, but flooded the media circuit shortly after evolved-Barbie’s release with the Abby Wambach Barbie. The star soccer player and Olympian is quoted as saying: “I think this is a really impactful statement…It just proves that we really are getting somewhere. Not everybody is created equal and if you’re out there and maybe your doll doesn’t look exactly like you feel, here’s another option.”

Wambach is part of a collection of Barbies Mattel is releasing that will represent inspiring women and hopefully connect girls to inspirational stories of fortitude, success and life beyond the perfect buns and thighs. The collection is called, “Shero”.

Feature Image Courtesy Mattel

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