Barbie’s old clothes won’t fit on the new curvy Barbie. Her dimensions are too big for the old skinny clothes. She can’t get the pants up over her thighs or rump. Does that mean the curvy Barbie is just a fat Barbie doll?
The new curvy Barbie body design was released by Mattel today, reports Time, along with tall and petite. Kept top secret under the code name Project Dawn, this is the first major redesign in body type since Barbie’s introduction in 1959.
The curvy Barbie is definitely more plump looking than the original body type. Her jaw is a bit rounder, her thighs meet in the middle and she definitely has a butt.
Barbie’s skinny body has been controversial from the day she was introduced 57-years ago.
At that time, almost all dolls were designed as infants. However, Ruth Handler, wife of Mattel Toys co-founder Elliot Handler, observed that her daughter enjoyed giving adult roles to her paper dolls when she played. Ruth suggested to her husband that there may be a market for a doll with an adult body, reports Wikipedia.
Although he originally disagreed, eventually Mattel introduced Barbie, based on a German doll Ruth found overseas and then redesigned. Barbie was given a very adult woman body, with dimensions that would be unrealistic in a real person.
Based on her measurements, if Barbie was real, she would be five-foot, nine-inches tall. Her bust would be 36 inches, her waist 18 inches, and her hips 33 inches. Unfortunately, she would be so underweight, her body would not be able to menstruate.
Parents have long been concerned that Barbie’s proportions may suggest to their children that ultra skinny is normal and desirable. The idea has been controversial, with many dismissing it, citing fashion models and other examples in the mainstream that exemplify unrealistic body types.
But Time reported that a 2006 study was published in the journal Developmental Psychology, finding that girls who played with Barbie at a young age were more worried about being thin, compared to those that played with other types of dolls.
Is Curvy Barbie a Fat Barbie?
Mattel tested the curvy Barbie with young girls to see their reaction, reported Time. Without adults in the room, the girls were quite free with their play. One young one expressed her view with a song.
“Hello, I’m a fat person, fat, fat, fat.”
However, when an adult was in the room, none of the girls would use the word fat. They would use the word chubbier or spell out the word fat. This has changed over the last couple of years, likely due to the anti-bullying efforts put in place by the school systems.
“I don’t want to hurt her feelings,” one little one said.
However, the girls are not quite as excited and accepting of the curvy Barbie as their moms. Tania Missad is in charge of the girl’s portfolio research team for Mattel.
“We see it a lot. The adult leaves the room and they undress the curvy Barbie and snicker a little bit. For me, it’s these moments where it just really sets in how important it is we do this. Over time I would love it if a girl wouldn’t snicker and just think of it as another beautiful doll.”
The moms in Mattel’s focus groups widely supported adding diversity in body and color to the dolls. Body image is very important to moms, no matter what socio-economic group or region they were in. The beauty standards their children are exposed to is of high concern to all the moms in focus groups across America.
— TIME.com (@TIME) January 28, 2016
In fact, the change in body type was the number one requested feature from them. Added to that was more modest clothing, less makeup and joints that moved.
When asked, the moms said that they would be more likely to buy more Barbie dolls based on the new bodies. Some of the mothers wished the curvy Barbie doll actually had more curves. Time reported one mother’s comments.
“I wish that she were curvier. There are shapes that are curvier and still are beautiful. My daughter definitely has curves, and I would want to give her a doll like that. It’s a start, I guess.”
The girls in the test groups tended to pick Barbies that look liked them in hair color, regardless of body type. Despite the fact that some of the girls thought the curvy Barbie was fat, the most popular doll by far was a doll named Katy Perry, with blue hair and curves.
So what do you think? Is the new curvy Barbie doll aptly named or should she be called Fat Barbie?
[Image via Mattel]