The world’s most scrutinized body has undergone one serious makeover. Three new types of Barbie doll have reached the UK and will soon be filling the shelves of Nottingham’s favourite toyshops.

 Mattel, the US company behind the renowned doll have added ‘tall, curvy and petite’ body shapes to its line-up of fashion toys.

Adreanna playing with her Barbie dolls.
Adreanna playing with her Barbie dolls.

For an inordinate length of time, Barbie’s iconic plastic figure has been the topic of critical debate, with individuals arguing that she sets an unrealistic body image for young girls. Michelle Chidoni, Mattel spokeswoman, explains that the new figures provide a diversity and hope to offer children ‘choices that are more reflective of the world they see around them today’.

 

“Barbie always represented the fact that women have choices”
Ruth Handler, Creator of Barbie

Last year the corporation presented 23 new dolls to the ‘Fashionistas’ line with a variety of skin and hair colours, she was also created with flexible ankles- allowing a flat foot- substituting Barbie’s signature heel.

Barbie made her first ever debut at the American International Toy Fair, 1959
Barbie made her first ever debut at the American International Toy Fair, 1959

Kim Culmone, Vice-president for Barbie design, clarifies that they are ‘exploding a system that has been in place for 56 years’. The new dolls are sweeping change from the blue-eyed blond with impossible body proportions. Barbie is now reflecting the diverse audience of the doll and becoming increasingly aware of the changing beauty ideals. – All body types and skin colours should be values equally.

However, even with the dolls re-model, arguably they still convey traditional and constraining gender norms about how girls, that a girls appearance is at the centre of her self- worth.  Some mother’s in Nottingham are unenthusiastic about Barbie’s new strategy, believing that ‘fashion dolls are still over-emphasising female beauty’.