Barbie Slays With New Curvy Shape, Diverse Skin Tones, Hair Textures

Barbie is slaying with the addition of seven new dolls joining the trademark line. Mattel is upping Barbie’s game and appeal with new body images, skin tones, and hair textures. Mattel has a global audience of impressionable girls who all deserve representation.

The makeovers will help more girls to see themselves as they engage in creative play. When girls (and boys) see their images represented positively in the world (even the world of play) their self-confidence increases.

Body Perception Impacts How Girls See Themselves

Curvy, petite, and tall body types are joining the Barbie family. Body image is important. In the U.S. girls as young as six are concerned about being fat. Different body shapes provide kids a choice from the standard Barbie of 1959–waif thin and anorexic. The original Barbie is still a big seller, but the new additions add variety and detract attention from unrealistic and unhealthy body goals.

Barbie And Doll Play Offers Teachable Moments For Adults

Adults can learn a lot by listening to conversations that take place during doll play. Imaginations are sparked when girls play with dolls. Adults can glean insight into how girls view the world. More important is that through play we can learn how girls view themselves. This offers an opportunity to foster self-esteem through encouragement and discussing negative self-speaking.

Clothing And Accessories Reflect Real Life Fashion Challenges

New changes means not all clothing will fit every doll. Some dolls have flat feet and the heels traditional Barbie wears won’t work. That’s okay, Flatfoot Barbie won’t need surgery later on from damage caused by a pair of cute to-die-for heels. Some skirts won’t fit over the dolls with curves, which makes the point that it’s okay for a girl can to both eat and live a little.

Girls Bond Over Barbie Playtime, Ken Is Uninvited

Time Magazine reports that Mattel ran test groups where girls and moms vetted the dolls. They found that younger girls are more concerned with bonding with each other than worrying about Ken. In fact one twelve-year-old girl was the sole participant to show interest in Ken.

Mattel and Barbie have a strong history with girls. By expanding Barbie’s body image, features, and keeping her affordable ($10+), girls dream bigger.

Featured Image by RomitaGirl67 via Flickr, available under a Creative Commons license.

C. Imani Williams is a human rights and social justice activist. She writes to empower and give voice to those silenced through systematic oppression. Her work has appeared in Between the Lines, Michigan Citizen, Tucson Weekly, Harlem Times, Dope Magazine and various news and popular culture blogs. Follow the unapologetically black political culture critique @ and