Barbie has a new look, and not everyone is happy

Barbie has a new look, and not everyone is happy
Updated 30 January 2016

Barbie has a new look, and not everyone is happy

Barbie has a new look, and not everyone is happy

NEW YORK: Poor Barbie. She had plastic surgery to become more socially acceptable. But a lot of her critics still don’t like her.

Barbie’s manufacturer, Mattel, announced Thursday that the doll has three new body types — curvy, tall and petite. Barbie will also now come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles. Mattel spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni said the product is evolving to “offer more choices” to make “the line more reflective of the world girls see around them.”
But Kris Macomber, who teaches sociology at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, says she’s “reluctant to celebrate Barbie’s new strategy because it doesn’t change the fact that Barbie dolls and other kinds of fashion dolls still over-emphasize female beauty. Sure, all body types should be valued. And, sure, all skin colors should be valued equally. But why must we keep sending girls the message that being beautiful is so important?“
Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, said Barbie’s changes are a testament to activists who for years have challenged her “unrealistic and harmful body type.” But body type “was only one of the criticisms,” he said. “The other was the brand’s relentless focus on appearance and fashion.”
Kumea Shorter-Gooden, co-author of “Shifting: The Double Lives of Black Women in America,” has said in the past that Barbie has a bigger impact on black girls struggling with messages about skin color and hair. Shorter-Gooden applauded Mattel “for diversifying the size and look of Barbie,” but noted that “European-American hair still prevails,” and that the dolls’ outfits still “convey a traditional and constraining gender norm about how girls and women should look.”