Barbie in the 21st Century

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Did you hear? Barbie is getting a much-needed makeover! New and improved Barbie dolls will be available in stores later in 2016. You can read more and see a gallery of the new dolls at!

She will be available in different body types, hair textures, and even foot sizes! This redesign makes Barbie look like and relate more like real girls – where not everyone is perfectly proportioned.

This 57-year-old icon will FINALLY look like and represent more of the girls that play with her. Sure, Barbie has undergone her share of cosmetic and career changes since 1959, but while her were owners and growing and changing, she’s kept the same height, waist size, chest size, and blue-eyed-blonde image.

It’s not just the grown-ups saying “give her a toy who looks real!” Girls know this is happening, and are aware that women in the media and pop culture don’t necessarily look “realistic.”

In a 2010 national Girl Scout study about Girls and Body Image…

  • Nine in ten girls said the fashion industry (89%) and/or the media (88%) place a lot of pressure on
    teenage girls to be thin.
  • Sixty-five percent of girls think that the body image represented by the fashion industry is too skinny; 63% think it is unrealistic; and 47% think it is unhealthy. More than a quarter (28%) say the fashion industry body image looks sick.

And it’s not just the magazines and movies that keep this going. For instance, until now, if Barbie was a real person, she would stand about 6 feet tall, with a 39″ bust, 18″ waist, and 33″ hips. Because her waist is so small, she would only be able to have half her liver and only a few inches of intestines. Also, her feet would be a size 3, soooo she probably wouldn’t be able to stand up.

Sure, she’s a toy, but what does she represent?

Youth? Perfection? Femininity? Beauty? It will be different for every girl, and that’s where the danger of brushing off this entire conversation as “she’s just a toy” comes from. While Barbie could be a super-fun doll to play with to one girl, to another, could be an example of what to strive for, and what is acceptable.

Emma Watson (love!) once said:

I keep telling myself that I’m a human being, an imperfect human being who’s not made to look like a doll, and that who I am as a person is more important than whether at that moment I have a nice figure.

Who knows if she ever played with a Barbie, but either way, we agree – no human is made to look like a doll, and no Dream House or wardrobe can ever bring lasting confidence.


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