Barbie Just Got a New Body & I'm So Happy for My Daughter I Could Cry

new diverse barbies

In case you haven't heard, Barbie just got a new body. Well, three new bodies, actually: curvy, tall, and petite. The iconic brand is trying to push back against slumping sales by giving girls -- and their mothers -- something that's a little different. And marketing gimmicks aside, this is huge. 


For years now, Barbie has been getting her tight little tushy kicked in the marketplace by toys that do more to empower girls. To push pack, Barbie just introduced a variety of dolls with frames, hair, and skin colors that look more like the women our daughters see every day. Even ladies with punk-rock blue and purple hair. You have to love that.

It's easy to understand why Barbie lost favor with so many women. Today's mothers were raised on the old-school Barbie -- driving around in her pink Corvette and livin' large in her Malibu beach house. And it became crystal clear that as we shed our pink plastic, slightly sexed-up fantasy that we were sold a big lie. There is literally nothing about Barbie -- from her ginormous rack and her lack of enough body fat to have a period, to her collection of tight, slutty pencil skirts -- that turned out to be anything close to what the real world of womanhood would be like.

More from The Stir: New 'Fatty' Barbie Is Such a Dumb Idea, but I Bought My Kid One Anyway

So we vowed to try to do better by our girls by turning up our noses at Barbie's 1950s sensibility for something more modern, and a bit more in touch with the world our girls are going to have to inhabit. A world that wants girls to be sexy, not slutty; smart, but not intimidating; caring, but not pushovers; and strong, but not strident. A world that tells them in a thousand different ways that whatever choices they make are wrong and leave them woefully lacking.

We try to prepare our darling babies by insisting they have a strong sense of exactly who they are and reminding them constantly that that's more than enough. It's what marketers like to call "body positivity," but it goes so much deeper than how they look -- it's about teaching our girls that they have value regardless of how they make other people feel or react to them. And in this world, that's a tall order.

Those are lessons Barbie just can't help us teach with a face full of makeup while she teeters on 4-inch heels. So we bought Legos instead.

Now Barbie is getting in on the girl-power, body-positive act and showing a new generation of girlies that being tall or short or having a little extra junk in the trunk isn't just reality -- it's beautiful. Aspirational, even.

When our daughters come home from school with tears in their eyes from being called "Olive Oyl" or "Miss Piggy" or whatever today's equivalents are to those slams, maybe in some small way they can look at a Barbie doll that looks like them and see that their body isn't just good enough; that their long legs or round bottoms or tiny little frames aren't outside what we consider to be beautiful. They're Barbie beautiful.

Or maybe that's just wishful thinking.

But as the mother of a little girl, I will take all the help I can get convincing my baby that she doesn't have to work on herself or try to be someone else to be total perfection. And if Barbie wants to join me and all the other moms out there in the fight, she's welcome on my team anytime.

Now all we need is a Barbie in a 2005 Camry with a purse full of face powder working her ass off to pay her student loans and save for a house with a baby on her hip. Then again, maybe some bit of childhood fantasy is just fine.

So right on, Barbie. You just won back a customer.


Image via Barbie/Twitter

Read More >