In order to make young Black girls feel more represented, Mattel, the company behind Barbie, has released ten new versions of the iconic doll.
Keep scrolling to take a look at the new range for yourself…
Now, we all know that Barbie has a long, yet somewhat problematic history.
The Barbie Doll is one of the most iconic children’s toys, with the blonde-haired, blue-eyed figurine dating all the way back to 1959.
Barbie was first brought to life by Mattel co-founder, Ruth Handler.
Ruth felt inspired after she noticed her young daughter, Barbara, playing with makeshift paper dolls.
She decided to give these paper dolls a little more life…
And thus designed a 3D doll, suitable for young girls far and wide to play out their dreams with.
Queue the birth of Barbie.
And, as most of you will know, she was an instant hit.
Ruth pitched the idea of Barbie around the premise of inspiring young girls…
“My whole philosophy of Barbie was that, through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be. Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”
And, off this premise, Barbie went from strength to strength.
To date, it is estimated that over a billion varieties of the Barbie doll have been sold across 150 different countries – thus making her the most successful fashion doll to ever exist.
But, despite Barbie’s popularity…
And Ruth’s pro-feminist philosophy when creating the doll, there have been many issues surrounding the fashion figurine.
Mattel has long promoted Barbie as a progressive and modern woman…
And they have given her a variety of impressive and aspiring job roles, such as scientist and doctor, in the process.
But there was still an ongoing issue regarding Barbie’s image…
And no amount of impressive job titles would change it.
Let’s start with the obvious…
Barbie has consistently had a ridiculously unattainable appearance that seriously lacks in diversity.
Her shiny blonde hair, those sparkling blue eyes…
And her minuscule cinched waist all contribute to a rather unrealistic beauty standard among young girls.
And, in recent years…
The doll has been put under more and more scrutiny regarding her indistinct and, quite simply, unrealistic appearance.
Well, beauty standards among women have been changing dramatically throughout the last decade…
And this has ultimately put a strain on Barbie’s iconic, yet obviously overdone blonde-haired and blue-eyed aesthetic.
People have been calling to see a more diverse Barbie…
And the doll’s manufacturer, Mattel, clearly under pressure, has been working hard to broaden their diversity range amongst the dolls.
Amazingly, Barbie is now available in a range of different ethnicities…
With a range of different, yet realistic, body shapes that represent all types of women.
The doll even caters to a variety of different religions…
Muslim women far and wide rejoiced when the hijab-wearing Barbie was unveiled in 2017.
And, in 2019, the first Barbie doll featuring a disability was unveiled.
“Barbie in a wheelchair” and “Barbie with a prosthetic leg” were added to the Fashionistas range in February 2019.
Kim Culmone, Vice President of Barbie Design, told Teen Vogue that one of the most frequent requests Mattel received was for a doll in a wheelchair. So, the company worked alongside people with disabilities to bring the dolls to life in the most accurate way possible.
And now, Mattel have taken their newfound passion for diversity one step further.
A new line of ten Black Barbie’s have been unveiled, and they are nothing short of beautiful.
Costume designer, Shiona Turini, collaborated with Mattel to create a new line of realistic dolls with different skin tones, hairstyles, and even body types.
To put it simply, Barbie has finally had the makeover she so desperately needed.
According to the designer, this opportunity made her childhood dreams come true.
Writing on Instagram, she explained:
“My vision was to style diverse and realistic Barbie dolls in bold looks with themes seen throughout my work, like contrasting snakeskin and leopard, challenging traditional uniformity. I grew up obsessed with Barbie and while she was one of my first fashion icons, I clearly remember searching shelves for girl’s toys that looked like me and coming up empty-handed.”
What a stunning collection.
History = made.
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