Barbie is Reshaping Beauty Ideals and Standards
I was never a Barbie kind of girl growing up. The iconic doll with her long golden hair and thin limbs just didn't speak to me. Theoretically, I was opposed to everything I thought Barbie stood for. The truth is I was never a doll type of girl but I might have been if I the new evolution of Barbie had been available when I was a kid.
The power of seeing a version of yourself that you can identify with can't be undervalued. Grown women have been moved to tears since Mattel revealed the new Barbies. Women are buying several versions of the doll to represent their many facets. At the launch, Mattel explained the reason Barbie had to evolve. "The new 2016 Barbie® Fashionistas® doll line includes four body types (the original and three new bodies), seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles and countless on-trend fashions and accessories. With added diversity and more variety in styles, fashions, shoes, and accessories, girls everywhere will have infinitely more ways to spark their imagination and play out their stories. Because with Barbie® You Can Be Anything!"
During the dinner launch on Thursday Queen Latifah and Gwen Stefani were center stage reshaping the conversation and discussing how embracing various body types can help empower young girls. When Queen Latifah took the stage she explained why the launch was important to her. “I think this is groundbreaking. Barbie is iconic,” Latifah told People at Barbie’s “Reshape the Conversation” Dinner in L.A. Thursday. "To me, it’s awesome for today’s young girls to play with a doll and see a little bit more of themselves in Barbie then I saw when I was a kid and I think it’s a very exciting thing.”
Latifah is also excited about the shift in the conversation happening with body diversity. "It’s a perfect concept for Barbie to represent. All the dolls look different. The different body shapes, hair, hair textures, skin tones, and clothing styles opens the world up and shapes beauty ideas for little girls who have their own identity."
I didn't like Barbie as a kid because the alternative Barbies never quite hit the mark. Black Barbie had the same hair as original Barbie except the color was kind of a dish pan blackish brown without luster. Clearly old school Black Barbie and Original Babs didn't have the same colorist. Her skin tone was off too. It was a sickly brown with a green undercast. Black Barbie wasn't pretty. Even as a kid I knew if I measured my beauty quotient by either of those Barbies I was in deep trouble. So instead of idolizing Barbie, I looked to my mother to inspire me and define my understanding of beauty. It worked for me, but every little girl doesn't have my mom to look up and quite frankly I'm not sharing. Barbie needed to do better for those little girls who fell through the cracks. There weren't any Asian or Hispanic Barbies, to fill the gap. When I was growing up it was just perfect Barbie and sickly greenish brown Barbie. In fact, black Barbie's name wasn't even Barbie.
Thursday night all that changed and Barbie reshaped the conversation and their hashtag #thedollevolves trended on Twitter most of the day and into the night. People like myself who had banished Barbie and her shenanigans from their lives long ago paused to see what all the commotion was about. At first, it was like waking up from a long dream. I was slightly groggy and the pieces to the puzzle just didn't make sense. Was I really seeing perfect Barbie perfection in various hues? The curvy, petite, tall, thin, Asian, Afro American, and Hispanic Barbies are as stunning as the original. All of their clothes look like they came straight from Neiman Marcus. I've never once considered buying my niece a doll. If by some quirk my niece had been able to convince me to buy her a doll it would not have been Barbie. Thursday night as Mattel launched the new Barbies women from all generations were lovingly displaying them for all to see. Many of them saying Barbie has evolved she looks just like me.
You can check out Mattel's official launch of the new Barbies here: http://www.barbiemedia.com/home.html.
Cheers to Mattel and Barbie for celebrating the entire spectrum of girls and women. Now there's a Barbie for every little girl, and every woman in touch with the little girl inside. Barbie is tall, petite, and curvy. Her hair now comes in a variety of textures and colors and her skin tone is a multitude of shaded splendor. Kudos to you Barbie for reshaping the conversation, it's a conversation long overdue.
Barbie is no longer content to sit on the sidelines watching Ken live the life of his dreams. Today Barbie is making it happen for herself. When I was a kid Barbie seemed content to spend most of her days lunching and lounging or engaging in "women's work". Now Barbie has over 150 different careers on her resume. She's heading up corporations, practicing medicine, serving in the military and flying into space as astronaut Barbie. Barbie even took a stab at the White House recently. Now, all we need is Sports Writer Barbie to cover the Super Bowl.