I only had a quick glance at the latest range of Barbie dolls that have been revealed, before leaving it open in my tabs to look at later, but I have to say my instant reaction was a positive one. About time crossed my mind.
The new dolls are much more inclusive and realistic than their former counterparts. Barbie dolls have been produced by Mattel for 50 years, and this new line-up of dolls features four different sizes including petite, curvy and tall as well as seven skin tones and twenty-two eye colours and are ready to pre-order under the new Fashionistas Line. The aim of these new dolls is to be diverse.
I think it’s good. It’s needed. These dolls play a much larger role in how children grow up to view women’s bodies, and their own, far more than we can understand. If these dolls only reflect one body shape, they are promoting that shape as the “ideal”, as the norm, as the way you should look. By bringing in these new dolls the brand will be showing children a much more realistic image and challenging this notion of the perfect body.
If you don’t realise how ridiculous the traditional Barbie doll is, take a look here. It is clear that these new dolls are at least making some kind of step forward. I was feeling pretty positive about it. But..then my friend comes in and states that it annoys her because everything seems to offend someone and the only reason they’re doing it is because they have to make people happy. I get her point, I do. However, the potential impact the traditional Barbie doll has on children’s body perception means that yes, people get “offended” by the unrealistic body of standard Barbie dolls, and yes, we have to do something about it. Barbie has received a lot of criticism over recent years from the public, and the fact they have responded to the public’s concerns with this new range makes sense – it’s good for their company image, it’s good for their public relations and it’s probably going to be very good for their profits.
I’m not saying this is by any means the solution to low self-esteem and poor body image in young girls, but it is a small step in making a difference and hopefully it will inspire others to challenge the “ideal” body we seem to look up to within society, and stop people being judged on their appearance.
(But what about Ken?)
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