I grew up in Barbie World. I had the Barbie house, Corvette, RV, airplane, cruise ship, and a horse for Barbie to ride that came complete with its own stable. I even had a rug on my bedroom floor that had Barbie rooms outlined on it where I could place all of Barbie’s furniture and miniature accessories. My mother gave me her Barbies and vintage handmade clothes in addition to buying me my own collection of Barbies and the latest fashions for them to wear. This added up to a multitude of dolls fighting to have a relationship with my one Ken doll.
I never looked at Barbie as a physical role model, but I also didn't grow up in an era where social media was the norm. Now that I'm at an age where my friends are having daughters of their own, I understand how problematic it can be for little girls to idolize a toy that projects the reality of being 6 feet tall and having an 18in waist. It's just not realistic. I want my future daughter to play with toys that don't make her think that if she doesn't have a thigh gap there is something wrong with her.
Which was why I was so excited to hear that Barbie was getting real. She's now available in petite, curvy, and tall models, in addition to the original silhouette. And while Barbie (and toys in general) have a way to go before all children feel represented by their toys, this is a step in the right direction.
Beauty does not come from just being tall and skinny. Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, and colors and should be represented as such in our children's toys. If children saw a vast diversity in their toys from a young age, wouldn't they come to accept the diversity of people around them?
Barbie taught girls that they can be anything that they want to be. We can be doctors, astronauts, teachers, or stay-at-home mom's. I just hope that Barbies will also teach our future generations that who we are are has less to with how tall and skinny we are, but how we treat others.
How do you feel about the new Barbies? Are you happy they are changing the body type or do you prefer the original Barbie?