I have a weird relationship with Barbie dolls. When we were growing up, I used to publicly denounce them as “stupid brainless girly toys” because that was what everyone else called them.
But, I secretly really enjoyed playing with my Princess Barbie doll. I loved brushing her plastic hair and dressing her up in her Princess Dress complete with homemade paper hat. I secretly wanted to sew new dresses her, but never did. Heck, one of the papers I did in University was about Barbie’s influence on feminist culture!
So, it’s no surprise that I’m super-excited for the new line of Barbie Fashionistas dolls, which not only include new body types like petite, curvy and tall, but also include new heads and skin colours! I was very pleased to note that one of the dolls sported a generic-looking Asian face, complete with dead-straight hair. It’s just a nice step in a new direction.
Plus, it’s in keeping with Barbie’s long and (might I add) illustrious history of being a positive role model for little girls. I mean, she’s one of the first toys for girls that represented a career other than homemaking and she’s gone on to embody over 150 different careers, including Game Developer and three-term President of the United States of America.
Over the years, Barbie has had some (small) controversy over issues like her unrealistic figure and her temporary divorce from Ken. Still, these issues aside, it’s clear that Mattel is moving in a more body positive direction and the dolls are clearly quality items.
So, I’m going to support Mattel in this endeavor. It’s great to see Barbies in multiple shapes and colours and I hope that they keep up the good work!