If you haven’t yet heard, your ex-best friend–you know, the one you used to have tea parties and play dress-up with, who now lives in a box in your basement–is on the front page of Time. Obviously, I am referring to Barbie (at least, I hope this is obvious–if you’ve got any other former BFFs rotting away in a box in your basement, I implore you to free them), and she’s making news because she’s getting a new look. Well, it’s a bunch of new looks, technically. In the coming months, Barbie will soon be coming in a variety of sizes–petite, tall, and curvy, in addition to the original Barbie size–as well as a few dolls with customization skin shades and hair types.
While this is certainly a move in the right direction, it’s important to note a few obvious criticisms that have come up regarding Barbie’s latest makeover. First of all, the “curvy” doll’s title seems like a bit of a stretch. While certainly fuller-figured than the original Barbie, she still has aggressively toned legs and a nipped-in, Christina Hendricks-eqsue waist (think the “plus-size” model that was featured in a Calvin Klein’s underwear campaign and had everyone scratching their heads over her plus-size label). The Time article also makes a point of saying that Barbie’s move towards diversity was borne out of economic, rather than purely altruistic motivations–Barbie sales were falling, so they basically plugged in the numbers and saw that having dolls that came in a variety of sizes would be a good move, financially.
Still, just as it’s exciting to have a new presence of models whose bodies break out of the expected lingerie-model mold, it’s no doubt encouraging for young girls to see dolls that look a little more like them–whether it’s the curvy Barbie, tall Barbie, or petite Barbie–no matter what Mattel’s exact motivations for Barbie’s new variety of frames was. As such, the overall reaction to the doll has been overwhelmingly–though not wholly–positive. Check out these reactions here:
1. Most people are pretty excited:
Just crying over curvy Barbie. Like, really. I'm useless right now.
— Julie Murphy (@andimJULIE) January 28, 2016
2. And emotional:
— art heaux (@urfavfemme) January 28, 2016
3. And vocal about why Barbie isn’t just a doll:
Look. Here's why curvy @Barbie matters to me: I tell my daughters my body is normal, all bodies are normal, but their dolls don't back me up
— Mena Vuvalini (@filamena) January 28, 2016
4. Plus-size model Nicolette Mason is also a supporter:
— nicolette mason (@nicolettemason) January 28, 2016
5. Though, for some, there’s still room for more sizes:
Cried over curvy Barbie. Honestly would've been so happy to have this growing up. Still need a fat Barbie, though. https://t.co/BX9XRyX84I
— Megan Benedictson (@OhGeeMDB) January 28, 2016
6. And, yes–let’s eradicate the thigh gap:
— Dominique Lamberton (@domlamberton) January 28, 2016
7. Some also wish that Mattel had given her a new job, rather than a new body:
— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) January 28, 2016
8. Overall, though, people are pretty happy:
— Lauren Duca (@laurenduca) January 28, 2016
9. Well, maybe not some people. But that’s probably okay:
Curvy Barbie's and wheelchair bound Lego people? Today is a republicans worst nightmare and a progressives dream 😉
— Nerdista (@Nerdista) January 28, 2016
10. Yes, what of Ken?
"But why didn't the Barbie people make any MALE dolls with different body types and skin colors?"'- Ken's Rights Activist
— OhNoSheTwitnt (@OhNoSheTwitnt) January 28, 2016
— BigHeadSports (@BigHeadSports) January 28, 2016
12. Looking beyond Ken, for many people, this Barbie is a vital means of asserting self-confidence:
Curvy Barbie? She represents the first institutional voice to ever tell me my body type is pretty *now*, not in some golden past.
— Tenderly Punk (@sweetpavement) January 28, 2016
13. And Barbie herself? Typically, she just won’t shut up about herself. (Whatever. Of all days, today is her day, I guess.):
— Barbie (@Barbie) January 28, 2016
What do you think of Barbie’s new look? Do you agree with any of the reactions above? Let us know in the comments!