In what’s being described as the most dramatic change in Barbie’s 57-year history, three new body types have been released – tall, curvy and petite – in addition to the original look.
The new Barbie Fashionistas line also comes in five new skin tones, 18 hairstyles, eight eye colours and “countless on-trend fashions and accessories”.
News of the overhaul even made the cover of Time magazine with Barbie herself saying, “Now can we stop talking about my body?”
“We are excited to offer these new dolls,” says Evelyn Mazzocco, Barbie’s senior vice president and global general manager.
“The variety in body type, skin tone and style allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them.”
The range of new dolls can be viewed on Barbie.com now, with the collection arriving in Australian stories in early March (RRP $18.99).
Barbie has always offered choices to women – from her 180 careers, to inspirational roles, to her countless fashions and accessories.
The new dolls are a natural extension of Barbie’s commitment to provide more choices to girls and their parents, say the makers Mattel.
“For 57 years, Barbie has been a reflection of the times, which is why she has remained the number one fashion doll and global icon she is today,” adds Evelyn.
Other reports say that Barbie’s evolution marks a bid by Mattel to claw back declining sales, partly due to the increased popularity of rival Bratz dolls and the Frozen movie merchandise.
Since Barbie first came onto the market, the doll has attracted criticism for giving young and impressionable girls an unrealistic idea of what the female body should look like, reports The Guardian.
In 1963, the doll came with a book entitled How to Lose Weight, with instructions to not eat. Research also found that with Barbie’s unrealistic body proportions she would lack the 17% body fat needed to menstruate.
The embracing of different body types in the new range has been welcomed by several charities who champion healthy body image and assist those who struggle with eating disorders, which research shows are exacerbated by exposure to unrealistic body types.