Barbie's got a new body: Iconic doll now comes in 'curvy' model
Christina Commisso, CTVNews.ca
Published Thursday, January 28, 2016 9:20AM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 28, 2016 11:30AM EST
The Barbie doll is evolving.
The iconic toy has undergone its most drastic revamp since its debut more than 50 years ago.
Mattel introduced Barbie dolls with three new body types – curvy, tall and petite –as part of its 2016 "Fashionistas" line on Thursday. The new line includes dolls that come in seven skin tones, 22 eyes colours and 24 hairstyles. Even a blue-haired Barbie is among the new squad.
The "original" Barbie, known for her tiny proportions and long blonde hair, also remains available.
In a video posted on Barbie's website, the change is described as "radical."
"This is radical because we're saying there isn't this narrow standard of what a beautiful body looks like," Mattel's senior design director Robert Best says in the video. "This is what the world looks like."
After decades of criticism over Barbie's anatomically impossible figure, Mattel said the revamped dolls are intended to celebrate differences.
"We have to let girls know it doesn't matter what you shape you come in, that anything is possible," Tania Missad, directorof consumer insights, says in the video.
Much of the reaction to the new dolls on social media has been positive.
Curvy Barbie? She represents the first institutional voice to ever tell me my body type is pretty *now*, not in some golden past.— Tenderly Punk (@sweetpavement) January 28, 2016
Look. Here's why curvy @Barbie matters to me: I tell my daughters my body is normal, all bodies are normal, but their dolls don't back me up— Mena Vuvalini (@filamena) January 28, 2016
Meanwhile, actor and Jenny Craig spokesperson Kirstie Alley, who had made her own weight struggles very public, was more critical of Barbie's new look.
Are we seriously going to imply that BARBIE needs to be taken seriously? Jeez bring back 1965 where BARBIE just looked like freak— Kirstie Alley (@kirstiealley) January 28, 2016
Dolls with the new bodies are available for preorder at shop.mattel.com, and will ship in February. They will hit start to show up on U.S. store shelves in March and roll in the rest of the world after that, Mattel Inc. said.
Sales of Barbie dolls have been sliding over recent years, as more girls turn their attention to tablets and other toys. Barbie sales fell four per cent from the previous year in the most recent quarter for Mattel.