Barbie is getting bodied — not quite like Beyonce, but you get the idea.
Born in 1959 when creator Ruth Handler debuted the iconic doll at the New York Toy Fair, the 57-year-old toy has had a major makeover.
On Jan. 28, Mattel released three new Barbie doll body types in addition to the original: petite, tall and curvy.
“Barbie was never designed to replicate the female body,” insists Michelle Chidoni, head of communications for all things Barbie in an exclusive interview with Glamour magazine. “She was a vehicle for play.”
This plastic, plastic surgery was a long time coming. Barbie has had body image problems for what seems like forever. Over the decades, the doll has been criticized for not representing women or the choices available to women when it comes to both appearance and lifestyle.
Fans have seen many attempts to address these concerns over the years: ethnic dolls who are friends of Barbie (but not named Barbie) or Barbie dolls who aspired to be more than babysitters, have professional jobs and presumably do not think “math class is tough.”
The new Barbies are actually named Barbie and come in a range of skin and hair color combinations. You can even get a flat-footed Barbie, because really, who can stand on their toes for a lifetime?
Barbie is a $300 million per quarter brand, reports Glamour, so making a change is a big deal. But with a four-year sales slump worldwide and increasingly stiff competition from a range of indie brands, they seemed to have little choice.
So girls now have a chance to play with a doll they have more than 100,000 to 1 odds of looking like…and they can still call her Barbie.