THE BARBIE EVOLUTION REVOLUTION

New Barbie range Natalia

The other day a package arrived. ‘Girls!’ I called, ‘I’ve got something special here for you…’

‘A new Barbie!’ they squealed, recognising the packaging. I handed over the dolls, then watched for their reactions. ‘Heeeeeeey,’ seven-year-old Big Sis exclaimed, ‘there’s something different about these!’ ‘Is there?’ I feigned ignorance. ‘What, exactly?’

She studied them for a while, before holding one up. ‘Well, this one is bigger than the others.’ I nodded. ‘Do you know why that is?’ She shook her head. ‘In the real world, does everyone look like the old Barbie, or do some people look more this new one?’ She thought for a while, before answering: ‘Some people look more like this new one.’

‘What can you tell me about your doll?’ I asked five-year-old Lil Sis. ‘Her skin is very brown,’ she replied. ‘And what do you think about that?’ ‘I think she looks beautiful,’ she replied.

I grew up playing with Barbies, but back then the only body shape was super skinny, and the only variation was blonde or brunette. Thirty years later not much had changed, which – if I’m honest – gave me slight reservations about my own girls playing with the dolls.

I loved seeing them role playing and using their imaginations, but was also conscious that they’re growing up in a world that already places too much importance on looks. I didn’t want them getting a skewed view about what was a ‘normal’ look; I wanted them to understand that beauty comes in EVERY shape, size and skin colour.

Which is why I was so excited to hear that Mattel were releasing Barbies with three new body shapes (curvy, tall and petite), seven skin tones and 24 different hairstyles. AND they’ve reconfigured the doll’s dimensions to remove the  unrealistic (dangerous, even) thigh gap. You can see more about THE EVOLUTION here.

What a brilliant leap in the right direction: I love that the toy industry is finally breaking out of the ‘blonde hair, blue eyes’ beauty stereotype, and that my girls will be learning about diversity while they play. Now every little girl will be able to go BARBIE shopping, and find one they can identify with.

Isn’t that amazing?!

New Barbie range Lucia

17 Comments

  1. Love the reactions and was so excited to see Barbie updated. I grew up desperately wanting to find a point of reference in toys and in the media. So glad the time has finally come for this generation. Beautiful post x

  2. I think it’s great there is a greater diversity. I personally prefer the classic ones as I used to play with them as a kid, but now kids have a choice and they can pick the ones that appeal to them.
    Anca recently posted…Windy Arbour FarmMy Profile

  3. I was really impressed when I heard there was going to be diversity within the Barbie range, one of the best ways for children to learn is through play x

  4. I’m glad they’ve introduced more variety! It was nice to read their reactions too.

  5. oh, I much prefer this range – I have 6 children and as I am anorexic and hate my body I do worry how my girls see the world around them as I never want them to follow my path although I make a huge effort each day to remind them they are beautiful in every way. Let’s hope they keep on making these and get rid of the “perfect” looking ones as let’s face it there is no such thing and it’s more damaging than good
    Emma White recently posted…Faded Spring – Blogger In The SpotlightMy Profile

    • Such a great step in the right direction, isn’t it Emma? As a mum of girls I’m very conscious of trying not to pass my insecurities on them too. xx

  6. This is so fantastic – I am passionate about removing stereotypes for my children. Good job Barbie! Kaz x
    Ickle Pickle recently posted…Vision Direct Baby Sight ToolMy Profile

  7. My girl is fast becoming a Barbie fan and I will be making sure she has a few of the new ones to play with as well.

  8. This is an amazing news and well done to Mattel for releasing the new body shapes. Love the girls’ reaction! xxx
    Mirka Moore @Kahanka recently posted…Support Your Family’s Healthy LifestyleMy Profile

  9. Aw what a lovely reaction. I think Barbie should have created more diverse dolls from the beginning! xxx
    WhatLauraLoves recently posted…50% OFF Discount at Scarlett & JoMy Profile

    • You’re completely right Laura – they should have done this years ago. Good to see they’re finally reacting to public opinion and making that first step towards genuine diversity. x

  10. I am actually writing a post about the diversification of the Barbie doll as we speak as I love that they have finally woken up and smelt the coffee! Its about time!
    Ana De- Jesus recently posted…Friday Lookbook: LFWMy Profile

  11. Love your girls reactions and so great to see this. It is high time that this happened do I’m glad Mattel have finally done it. xx

  12. Cassandra Mayers - March 1, 2016 reply

    Great reactions from the girls 😀

  13. […] • did you hear about Barbie’s modern new makeover? Read what we thought HERE […]

  14. I love the size variations, that’s definitely about time.
    We bought my niece a brown Barbie over 20 years ago. It did upset a few people, apparently. We just figured she was collecting all the different dolls and this was simply one of them.

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