Barbie – A doll now brought to life.
Taylor Swift isn’t the only one with a squad. Mattel released their Barbie wolf pack today, by unveiling three new Barbie body types: petite, tall and curvy. The Barbie squad is available on Barbie.com, along with the original doll. Each doll comes in a variety of skin colors and hair styles to choose (no idea how stores would stock these on shelves). But, as society holds true there most likely will always be one unhappy child that Mattel’s market will not appease. Then what? Will Mattel make more types: Bi-racial barbies with a skin color scale of 18 different skin tones, and don’t forget albino Barbie.
This raises many questions of the mindset for the youth of America today and their upbringing. If Barbie isn’t real, yet Mattel has now made her to depict real life women, what message is this sending to girls? Is it more confusing? Is the old message of a doll not being real, more true? That message was a simple collective societal understanding; Barbie was impossible to aspire to her real life measurements.
Barbie has been center of a “harmfully unrealistic body image” debate dating back to when that bitch came off the assembly line in 1959. Mattel claims Barbie’s proportions were created for ease of dressing and undressing the doll, not replicating an adult figure. Who decided upon Barbie’s measurements? Was it an image that was thought to be most desirable by men? Who knows.
When we start analyzing and over complicating the fact that a doll is just a play object, that’s when we find ourselves really thinking about the role of ideal beauty standards in media and society. Yes, there have been and are, living, breathing, trailblazing, iconic woman of different race and ethnicities, various shapes and statures in pop culture. New “Barbie’s” if you will. Those famous women, other woman obsessively compare themselves to, and they are human! So, when we take a good look at “looks”, the argument should not be to compare, but rather to teach young girls how to be confident in their own skin.
To settle this dispute once and for all, Mattel should completely cover and label the Barbie box. Create a sort of-life is like a box of chocolate barbie, you never know what one you’re going to get! This way, girl’s can learn from an early age to accept any Barbie (girl, woman, human) regardless of their race or shape. And in the event there is a return, they will have to explain to the store why they chose not to accept that particular Barbie. Then the blame isn’t on the manufacturer you see, rather we will find the faults in child-rearing in society.