Barbie Just Made Her Biggest Transformation in Over Half a Century

Lindsey Metrus

In her 57 years of existence, Barbie has seen some changes. She's had several career moves, broken up with Ken, gotten back together with Ken, had different ethnic and cultural backgrounds, and undergone slight tweaks to her figure. But as a whole, Barbie's oft-criticized anatomy has remained ostensibly the same (read: small-waisted, large-breasted, and very slim).

What has this physical appearance meant for Mattel's young consumers? According to a 2006 study published in the journal Developmental Psychology, girls who were exposed to Barbie at a young age reported lower body esteem than girls with less exposure. However, these revelations and blunt criticism from concerned parents didn't spark a product evolution—until now.

Available for preorder exclusively at Mattel Shop, Barbie now comes in three new body shapes (petite, curvy, and tall), seven skin tones, 22 eye colors (yes, 22), and 24 hairstyles. Tania Missad, director of consumer insights for the company, says in a video on the Barbie website, "We have to let girls know it doesn't matter what shape you come in—that anything is possible."

Adds a wise-beyond-her-years young girl seated behind the new dolls, "It's important for Barbies to look different—you know, like the real people in the world?"

Explore: Barbie

Add a Comment

More Stories
1