Barbie. I bet the simple word drew an immediate image into your head. The Mattel brand created the idea of perfection in a starry eyed, blond beauty that had girls striving to be as flawless as their doll. You couldn’t just have one though, you needed each one. The Malibu, the rollerskater, the dancer, or even the life sized which took the place of your imaginary friend- at least you could play with this friend’s hair. Needless to say if you were a child, a decent amount of time was spent playing with your Barbies- making up fictional situations, bopping them in and out of the dream house as they rode off into the distance in their pink Punch Buggy.
This unrealistic as well as unattainable body type had young children brainwashed since receiving their first box with a smiling friend ready for them to play with. *Matching colored brush included* Today, through campaigns and major movements, society has been taking a stand on what is “accepted” in media morphing the new perfect. This “new perfect” has now evolved into simply being you. With campaigns such as Aerie’s unedited adds with “real girls”, it has changed the way we not only look at models but ourselves. Piercings, tattoos, stretch marks and cellulite are being acknowledged. “Hello, yes, we all have it, why erase it with photoshop?” Where most of us would be thrilled to real life photoshop our pores or our not thigh gaps (but who really wants one of those anyway), it’s unrealistic. Now, your Barbies aren’t going to start being manufactured with scars or pimples but, when it comes to body types and skin tones, the market is expanding letting in all different kinds of girls. The name and brand image is now expanding to reach the American girl look having each one different whether it’s a petite, curvy doll with blue hair, or a taller asian doll with a bob.
It’s a monumental step Mattel is taking away from their original idea and product made in 1959 but, as the world and views are changing rapidly, the company has decided to adapt and appeal to the mass market. Young children are so easily influenced by media and outside sources more than ever in this high tech society. With that said, I believe that the new models of Barbies will help raise self esteem in children at a young age translating into positive and strong personalities as they become young adults.
So, let’s welcome the new class of 2016 that stands for the acceptance of all shapes and sizes, skin tones and personalities. Love your body and love yourself, As Told By Celia.