Barbie: diversity in yet another new decade for the perennial doll

Barbie and friends. A new decade, a new direction.

Long gone are the days of the insanely-proportioned body type Barbie, with her ever-flowing hair, perfect skin, and her once misguided advice to losing weight as: ‘Don’t eat!’

To be fair, those days were already pretty far behind the perennial doll, who has been glamming and adventuring it up since 1959. In recent years, maker Mattel has done much to present Barbie and her friends to a world more in tune with diversity and eager to see inclusion in action.

As a new decade begins, it’s pleasing to see Barbie’s designers steer her in the right direction by introducing dolls with baldness and vitiligo – this in addition to their recent physical disabilities range of wheelchair and prosthetic limb Barbies, and a continuing drive to enhance their dolls with different skin tones, hairstyles and body types.


All images from Barbie© Fashionistas© by Mattel.

TVTA is not affiliated with Mattel and receives no incentives – but, yo, Mattel, if you want to send me some free Barbie to go with my first Barbie California Dream and beach dune buggy, I’ll be one happy vintage editor 🙂

6 thoughts on “Barbie: diversity in yet another new decade for the perennial doll

  1. They’ve tried this so many times and it never, ever works. I don’t mean to be negative, but no matter what, Barbie always seems to end up as a super tall, super thin, blonde and with huge boobs. Growing up I was hard-pressed to find a white brunette Barbie doll that even remotely represented the kind of woman I might grow up to look like. It was very disturbing. 😦 There were even less Asian Barbies and fewer Hispanic ones, yet many of my friends were Asian and Hispanic. We all just had blonde dolls because that’s pretty much all there were!

    Liked by 1 person

    • All good points, and probably what Mattel are finally trying to address along with other negative points that have been baggage for Barbie over the years.
      Her original shape as the tall and thin fashion doll was perfect for hanging fashion clothes onto – much similar to real life fashion, though of course not realistic at all – not in the toy world nor real life. Barbie’s main competitor at the time – the Sindy doll, made by Pedigree – was a much more realistic doll in terms of body shape than Barbie, and for a while outsold her.
      Seems it’s taken an age for Barbie to catch up, and she probably still has a way to go for some. I’m impressed with the inclusion of the disabilty dolls, and the new ones showing baldness and vitiligo. I guess there’ll always be at least one tall, thin, and big boobed Barbie, but at least she’s in more realistic company now.

      Liked by 1 person

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