I remember the year my mother bought my youngest daughter a specific Barbie that she wanted to add to her collection for her birthday. This was the year of bright yellow pleather, midriff tops, short skirts, big jewelry and bigger hair. As she unwrapped the gift I looked at my mom and said “Just what we need Barbie the Hooker!” Fortunately my girl was pretty young and didn’t catch my motherhood sarcasm. We didn’t make a big deal of it because she quickly pulled out her current Barbie wardrobe and redesigned her look. But it was another snapshot of the difference between Barbie and the real world.
Fast forward to this year with the unveiling of the new Barbie! In addition to the impossibly long legs, perky boobs and taut rear are three new versions of this classic: one petite, one tall and one curvy. Body types a bit more realistic than that lovely lady has been for the last 57 years. (Can you believe she’s that old?)
They have also added 7 skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles and wardrobes for all kinds of life opportunities. This is finally a little more reflective of females as they really are, diverse and equally wonderful.
I’m celebrating this Mattel move. It’s a good one for little girls as they begin to form their own self-image and attitudes. May they realize that we are short, tall, round and flat! May they realize our skin tones range from pale ivory to wonderfully chocolate, and our jobs bridge from the home front to the boardroom! And most importantly, may they be reminded that it’s all-good.
Now if we can just get airbrushing in magazines outlawed!