“It’s important for Barbies to look different. You know, like the real people in the world.”
Amen, little sister. That’s what the young girl in a promotional video for the new Barbies, who’ll give kids a choice of skin, hair and eye colors and (in can-you-believe-it-news) four body types tells us. Seriously, after 56 years of a mostly blonde, near-impossibly-figured doll, Barbie is evolving. When you see how excited the girls (and yes Mattel, boys do play with Barbies) are to see the dolls beginning to reflect the real people in their lives, it’ll send a little shiver down the back of your neck. A good shiver, I promise.
If you think playtime doesn’t much matter, or wonder how much of an effect the way a doll looks can affect a child, there have been numerous studies that seem to indicate playing with the standard Barbie can affect body image and career aspirations; never mind the grown women who have permanently changed themselves to look like like her.
I have a daughter (the one who still plays with Barbies) who changes up dolls like crazy, and if you’ve been around kids, chances are you’ve seen first hand how unhappy they are with the limited image Barbie (and for that matter, many dolls) has had up till now. With the ways they cut and find ways to change hair color, styles and clothes to reflect their own personalities, it’s obvious kids have always had the imagination to think beyond Barbie. It’s nice to see Mattel catching up. And hey, are those flats I see?