For decades, Barbies have been a constant presence in many girls’ toy boxes. Her body barely changed for over 50 years: tall, thin, big boobs, small waist (for that coveted 7:10 waist-to-hip ratio) and balancing on her tiptoes.
For many years, her physical assets have been a point of contention for feminists and activists for positive body image and acceptance. (I can confirm: I’ve been told my grandmother wouldn’t let my mom play with Barbies when she was growing up on the grounds that the doll was too “buxom.” I mean, she wasn’t exactly wrong.) It seems that their concerns have finally been acknowledged.
Barbie will be sold in three different body types: petite, curvy, and tall. Mattel, the company that’s made the doll since its inception in 1959, is also expanding the line in terms of ethnicity and race options:
Barbie dolls will come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, and even a flat foot.
This move comes as consumers seek dolls that resemble themselves, or the little girls in their lives. For many women, Barbie is the first doll they could envision as themselves, and dreaming big. and it’s even better that now more dolls will resemble the consumer base’s diversity. Mattel has already begun diversifying their Barbies: the company broadened the range of “skin tones, eye colors and hair styles” available.
The new Barbies will debut this spring in stages. It’ll be interesting to see how the new dolls impact Mattel’s bottom line: Worldwide sales fell 4% in Q4 2015, and the company’s stock price has dropped 43% since a high in 2013.