Barbie has a new look this year, and it's gotten her on the cover of Time Magazine. The iconic toy starts it's 57th year in 3 new body shapes, Curvy, Tall and Petite; a reflection of today's positive body movement. While I love the idea of diversifying the brand for a broader more realistic approach, I do question whether this change is overcompensating for our society's constant need for options.
Now, I'm not saying that diversifying Barbie's look is a bad thing, but how far do we take these changes before we stop and think is it really all that necessary? I for one had Barbies that were all different colors, representing different ethnicities. Being a mixed kid that was all I needed. I could see Barbie as someone that represented me in color and that was enough for me and realistically that should be enough for Barbie users.
I've had tons of Barbie's growing up but, never once looked at Barbie and said, "Oh, I want to look like her"...She's a toy. I saw Barbie as the girl who could do it all. It wasn't about how "realistic" her proportions were, it was about her career goals, her relationships, her friends. Barbie exudes elegance and poise while going for whatever she wants when she wants. Her diversity was in her actions not in her waist size.
Unfortunately our society has become so needy for compensation that I think we loose a lot of our creative mindset. Instead of looking at Barbie's motivational factors, we're judging her on physical appearance. That's body shaming no? My real question is, why do we really need more options? While some may say these added differences make Barbie more relatable, I just see it as a way to over expose our differences.
My parents instilled in me from an early age that I-myself am beautiful because I'm me. Our differences are what make us special, not the size or shape of the dolls we play with. Compared to the previous Barbie Marketing plan of "You Can Be Anything," I personally think that the addition of new sizes pushes us to view Barbie based on her appearance instead of her character.
By putting such an emphasis on Barbie's physical appearance, we lose the true significance of what Barbie represents. Let's not put an emphasis on what Barbie looks like and instead look at what she's done on a larger scheme in motivating young women. She's a woman who is fearless, motivated and could do anything she put her mind to. So why should it matter what she looks like on the outside?