When Mattel announced today that it would start offering Barbies with four different body types, mothers and fathers around the world had their fingers crossed that they would finally have a Barbie they could buy their daughters (and their sons) that looked like real women.
The Barbie Fashionistas line come in four body types — original, curvy, petite and tall — and in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles.
Do they look like real women? Of course, not. Curvy, tall and petite, are, of course, much closer to real women than the original ever could be. Rehabs.com estimated if the original was a real woman, she would have something like 29-inch hips, 16-inch waist and 32-inch bust, that’s compared to a U.S. average of women ages 18-25 of 40-inch hips, 35-inch waist and 35-inch bust. At 110 pounds, and 5-foot-9 inches, Barbie also would be considered more than underweight. She’s even unrealistic when compared with the bodies of women with anorexia.
The new Barbies, which Mattel spent two years developing, give girls something that looks a little more realistic. Curvy Barbie gets a bigger waist, thicker hips and thighs, actual calf muscles and meatier arms, but she’s still modelesque and not what girls are seeing in real life. If original Barbie was an extreme anorexic, tall Barbie has even more of a problem. There’s very little fat on her or muscle. And petite Barbie just looks like the old Skipper dolls. She’s shorter than the original Barbie and has a rounder face, but she’s still too thin.
The new dolls are available for preorder at shop.mattel.com and will ship this month.
The past year has been a year during which more people are paying attention to toys for girls and for boys. After Rey, the main character from “Star Wars: The Force Awakens,” was not part of the box set of Hasbro “Star Wars” figures and after she was left out of “Star Wars Monopoly,” people took to social media with the hashtag #WheresRey. Some Hasbro officials tried to explain that it didn’t want to give away key plot points of the new movie. Hasbro’s “Star Wars” website now features Rey action figures front and center and she’s part of a new box set released last month.
Last year was also the year that Target finally gave up its gender-based signs of “boy’s toys” and “girl’s toys” and “boy’s bedding” and “girl’s bedding.” All are steps in the right direction.