It’s 2016 and we finally have a more realistic? representative? diverse? Barbie.
I don’t know if I should applaud or cry….

After 58 years (37 if you count the African American and Hispanic Barbie that appeared in 1980), Barbie is finally being released in a few body type options: Regular (still!?), Curvy, Tall and Petite. Sadly, it seems that if you’re tall or petite you can only be thin, and if you’re curvy you can’t be tall. Maybe that will be the next evolution of Barbie. And I have to wonder why Mattel felt it necessary to keep the “original” Barbie with her tip-over dimensions!?

There are also 7 skin tones, and one that is suggesting an Asian cultural representation.

The hair has also changed a bit: there is a brown-skinned doll that has an afro, a few with short hair and some with curls.  And there are now 22 eye colours (22?!)

If you hop on the Barbie website, you’ll also see that Barbie comes with not only various fashions and accessories (as usual) but that in addition to the Fashionista she has always been, she now can be a Spy, a Game Developer, and the President or Vice President!

(An aside about diversity in marketing: besides the Fashionista group, all of the Barbies shown in these groups on the website are the thin and white versions….sigh.)

In light of the statistics I shared in my last post about women in leadership positions, we need to see some CEO’s, some Executive Directors, some computer programmers, scientists, and some trades people on Barbie’s list of aspirations (to name a few)  – and we need to see some brown and black Barbies in those careers on the website!


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Copyright 2016 Annemarie Shrouder
Speaker, Author and Facilitator on issues of Diversity & Inclusion
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Radio Show Host – Creating Families
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