Barbie gets a makeover – too little, too late?


Barbie has ruined the world, right? Anorexics and bulimics…it’s all on Barbie – with her wispy waist, brittle wrists and half-baked ass. Fucking Barbie. The bitch. No wonder millennial moms have stricken the curveless piece of plastic from shelf, toy box and doll house, exorcising Mattel’s demon of insecurity from life and home. Forget mean girls, Disney films, glossy mags, inappropriate advertising and…the media industry in general – hells no, ‘crappy self esteem’ has been spelt with a B.A.R.B.I.E for a long, long time.

But happy days – the womankind’s problems are over; Mattel has launched a new range of Barbie – she comes in “petite”, “curvy” and “tall”; ‘blonde and white’ has been replaced with more expansive skin tone, eye colour and hair texture. Presumably she’ll also be better at maths, realise that girls can code and that there’s more to life then shopping.

It was ‘Project Dawn’ that saw the rectification of Barbie’s many faux pas, with designers spending two years revamping the doll’s infamous figure and dressing her in clothes that don’t shout prostitute. Of course, this was not money motivated at all – that fact that doll sales have dropped by 15 per cent in the last two years; that Frozen’s Elsa has smashed Barbie in the profit-face – has nothing to do with Barbie’s regeneration. No, now little girls can play with dolls that look like them…

…and never worry about their thighs and cellulite ever again.

Fiend turned friend.

That’s Barbie.

Except the only people who really care are the feminist mums who, with the fervour of a religious zealot, cry ‘evil’ with idolatrous intensity – insulting the children who have more imagination than words and pictures on a box. Sure, they have a point; Barbie’s been a shitty role-model and her revamp, other than disingenuous, is most likely too little, too late. But none of this denies the fact that Barbie, in her heyday, when there was nothing to rival her humanoid glamour and personability, was an awesome toy – whether you were ripping her head off with pathological intent or sending her camping with Skipper and Ken. Now, the infamous pop culture icon is dwarfed by the mighty shadow of other (ironically) less conspicuous compatriots, wielding skanky clothes, ‘perfect’ proportions and too much make up with deceptive innatention.

Check out this video documenting why designers finally decided to change dear Barbie…

ALSO READ…Pop Psychology #9 – Barbie