Mattel’s Barbie Doll Unveils Three New Body Types

After 57 years in the marketplace, the Mattel company has just unveiled three new body types under the auspices of their iconic Barbie Doll line.

For those of you who don’t know what a Barbie Doll is, it’s an anatomically impossible, tiny-waisted, BIG bullet boobed doll that mothers and fathers have been purchasing for their daughters for decades. This iconic doll has been the stuff that dreams, nightmares, and Body Dysmorphic Disorder is made of.

The Barbie Doll has long since been criticized for its harmful and unrealistic portrayal of the female form – since 1963. It is said that falling toys sales was the driving force behind this change. Mattel was once the biggest toy company in the world, but it has now been edged out by Lego – after the success of their ‘teach girls to build line’ boosted sales. What has also hurt them is Hasbro’s production of Disney Princess dolls – particularly Elsa.

Today Mattel unveiled three new body types for your Barbie Doll pleasure: Curvy, Petite (wasn’t that always the case?), and Tall.

Here is what their new “Curry” doll looks like:

Curvey Barbie image

The “Petite” doll looks like this:

The New Petite Barbie Doll

And the “Tall” doll:

The New Tall Barbie Doll

From a first glance it appears that “petite” and “tall” Barbies look a lot like the original Barbie in body composition – with the exception of the slightly smaller breasts. Could this change in this symbol of the idyllic female form come from the realization that “real” women, that is the majority of women, do not conform to this particular body form type? Or, is this coming on the heels of the one-year anniversary and success of the Lammily Doll?

Lammily Doll for girls

For those of you who don’t know about Lammily, she is the brainchild of artist/researcher Nickolay Lamm. She [Lammily] was born after he asked himself this questions: What if fashion dolls were made using standard human body proportions? What if?

His project was featured on HuffingtonPost, Today, Time, L.A. Times, Good Morning America, BBC Radio, and several other media outlets and it got the masses asking, “Where can we get a doll-like this?”

The idea to start a crowd-funding campaign was posed and on 5 March 2014 it was launched into the verse. The campaign garnered 13,621 backers and 19K+ preorders for dolls. By November of 2014 the dolls went on sale and shipments to the backers were sent out.

Lammily Accessories

What the Lammily doll offered, and continues to offer, is a more realistic body, body image, and lifestyles for females. This doll even offers accessories like “Lammily Marks” which include: freckles, acne, cellulite, cuts and bruises, and a lot more.

Also in their accessories bag: “Period Party.” Now I know the even the mere mention of a woman’s monthly cycle freaks some of you out, but this accessory serves as another tool to talk to girls about menstrual cycles. It teaches kids that it is a natural and healthy part of a woman’s life. And check this: it even comes with an educational pamphlet, undies, reusable pads/liners, and calendar & dot stickers to assist in the education of your girls about their bodies.

Faith the Superhero

Last year Valiant comics released its first plus-size superhero comic series, Faith. She’s not a new face – she’s been a part of the Harbinger story-line since 1992 – but she now has her own series. This “super-sized” hero has always been a big girl and that’s OK. It turns out that the original Valiant staff was almost 50 percent female and some of them were built like Faith. So the character [Faith] was born out of a desire to see a female like themselves reflected in their work. Kudos to them!

It is important that girls and young women see themselves accurately and positively reflected in the mainstream and many companies are coming around to that fact. Perhaps this is also a driving force behind the new Barbie body types – maybe Mattel gets that message.

Let’s hope that Barbie will also evolve further than just her appearance.

Khuwailah Beyah
Khuwailah Beyah
Khuwailah "Cookie" Beyah hails from North Carolina. She is a pop culture nut and loves all things Nathan Fillion. Ms. Beyah has a passion for the macabre and the horror genre. She serves on the "Nevermore Film Festival" selection committee in Durham, NC and attends several comic and horror conventions each year. She holds an MA from Duke University, but is a dyed in the wool North Carolina Tar Heel fan! She also enjoys writing and reading creative non-fiction.