Mattel Releases New Diverse Line of Barbies, Represents Changing Beauty Ideals
The new line features dolls with four body types, seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 different hairstyles. Considering the average woman will have more than 100 different hairstyles throughout her lifetime, this is a perfect example of the ever-changing ideals of beauty.
The body types represented are petite, tall and curvy. The line also features a variety of accessories and aim to represent a wider range of careers, including political and software developer jobs.
According to The Spectator, “Spy Squad” Barbies are available at the Mattel website, and the company will continue to release more dolls throughout the year.
The Vice President of Design for Mattel, Kim Culmone, hopes that young children will have fun choosing from the wide range of dolls.
“It’s going to be really fun for the girls to pick out dolls they can relate to,” Culmone said.
The release of these new Barbies has ignited a plethora of opinions surrounding the impact they will have on the young children playing with them.
CNN reported that a 2006 study conducted in the U.K. found that young women exposed to Barbie dolls reported lower self esteem and expressed a greater desire for a stick-thin body shape.
By exposing young girls (and boys) to a variety of body types, hair colors, and skin tones, Mattel and its supporters hope to broaden society’s views of standard beauty. The new dolls featured also appear to represent a number of different ethnic groups — including a Latina Barbie doll.
The overhaul of dolls comes on the heels of a less-radical change made by Mattel in 2015. The iconic doll was given ‘flexible’ ankles so she could wear flats instead of her traditional heels.
To purchase the new dolls, customers have to go to Mattel’s online store. However, they will be available in stores starting March 1. While they haven’t debuted the entire line, customers can expect more to be released throughout the year.
Aside from changing beauty stereotypes, Mattel is hoping to increase profits after a steady dip in sales over recent years. The company suffered a 43% decrease in stock price after its 2013 peak and sales fell 4% in the third quarter of 2015.