Toys are usually not a topic I tend to cover on my blog, but after hearing this news I was inspired to write a couple of words on the subject. Barbie has finally released a new range of Barbie dolls that feature three new body types (petite, curvy, tall), seven new skin tones, and a variety of face shapes and hair colors. It's a big move for a company that has probably inspired a shit-ton of body image issues for girls around the world.
Growing up, I owned many Barbie dolls and I LOVED playing with all of them. Especially my special edition Christmas Barbie and the Barbie that came with her own locker and backpack... I forgot her name. As a chubby bunny, I was always in awe of Barbie's body and thought that that's what I would look like when I grow up (even though no one around me really looked like that). I wanted blonde hair just like Barbie, and my cousin Talin (who preferred the brunette Teresa doll) would make fun of me for saying that out loud. As I grew older, I realized that it was an unattainable idealistic standard and that even if I really wanted to look like Barbie, I could never in fact look like her. I grew up at a time when the internet was just coming around, most kids did not get a mobile phone the second they learned how to read (or just breath). Magazines were filled with skinny models, but I never read them unless they had a poster of a band/singer I liked. Topics covered on kids shows were very relatable and "wholesome". Do you guys remember Lizzie McGuire and Boy Meets World? They were the best! I feel like times have drastically changed though in just a couple of years. Kids and tweens aren't as "innocent" as they used to be, which is a good and bad thing at the same time, but I want to focus on the bad part for a second.
Being a kid (a term I'm going to use to refer to people under the age of 20) is hard, everything is confusing and you're insecure as fuck. Most of these insecurities come from messages a kid is exposed to throughout life from their surroundings and the media. When most of these messages keep saying the same thing, it's not far fetched for a kid to develop a certain mindset and think that he or she needs to be exactly like that message in order to be accepted and "normal". As you grow older the insecurities start to fade away, but some parts still linger and this honestly impairs your life. Who are these message makers to make you feel like shit? Who are they to say you're not pretty enough or skinny enough or tall enough or blonde enough? They're no one. They too are insecure idiots just like the rest of us, but they like to exploit insecurities for profit. Companies have been criticized for a while, Barbie and Mattel in specific, to stop manufacturing products that reaffirm insecurities. It's not acceptable for a 10-year-old to think about nose jobs and diets instead of school and fun! It's refreshing to see these companies finally adapt their products to represent a more diverse range of people in the world who have a diverse range of bodies that go beyond the stick-thin, big-boobed blondies. Could this be a marketing move by the company and not an actual step to show that "they care", possibly. That's business. The bottom line is making money for corporations and multinationals, there's nothing new there. Honestly though, who cares. Whatever their motives are, I'm happy that little girls can have Barbie dolls that look more like them. That they won't want to become blonde "just like Barbie" when they grow up. If they do want to become blonde, it would be because they just want to experiment with their hair color. Will this move by Barbie end eating disorders and stop all little girls from having any insecurities? Probably not, but it is a major move to help balance things out, and I really appreciate it.
Thanks to an infinite amount of genetic combinations and evolution, we all come in a bunch of different shapes, sizes and colors. It's such an awesome thing! Why do so many of us spend most of our lives trying to change the things that make us, US? It's time to learn to be more accepting and to start redefining the crazy standards set on young and impressionable minds.