A&E Commentary: Barbies now support diverse beauty standard

Mattel franchise creates new Barbies

Tiffany Trent, Opinion Editor


Since 1959, Barbie dolls have become one of the most popular toys for children, as well as a cultural icon. Now, Barbie dolls are getting a much needed makeover with new diverse body types, more eye colors, more hair colors/types and additional skin tones.

The new dolls hit stores on March 1 and now come in four different body types: original, tall, petite and curvy. There are specific clothes for sale which will fit the different dolls. In addition, there are 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles. There are now a total of 33 new dolls in the collection.

What is groundbreaking about these dolls is that this is the biggest change Mattel has made to the Barbie franchise since its launch over 50 years ago. Quite frankly, it’s about time.

For generations, children have played with the original Barbie dolls that set an unattainable and inflexible beauty standard. Girls were taught that they needed to be tall, blonde and have tiny waists and huge breasts.

Instead of girls trying to look like Barbies, their Barbies can now look like them.

This is a huge step in the right direction for feminine freedom and healthy body images. By having Barbies come in different shapes, sizes and skin tones, it will show young children that curvy and thin is beautiful, as well as different heights, eye colors and skin tones. The creation of these Barbies help break girls out of the unrealistic beauty standards that have been enforced for so long.

Reflecting on my own childhood, I wish I had grown up with Barbies that showed how beautiful diversity and differences are. However, I am grateful that incoming generations of girls will grow up playing with Barbies that look like them. Hopefully this is just the beginning of diversifying the standard of beauty and “perfection” in toys, media and our culture.