COMM011- Blog Post 6- Barbie 2016


Every little girl loves to play with Barbie.  I remember when my sister and I were little, we would beg for more and more Barbies.  She was our favourite Christmas present.  We had the Barbie corvette, the Barbie dream house, a crazy amount of Barbie clothes and accessories. It is 30 years later and Barbie is still such a hot item on the shelf.  My 5 year old niece is now just starting her Barbie craze. When I was a kid, Barbie just had long long blonder hair.  She had a tiny little waist, ridiculously tiny feet and large breasts.  We didn’t care; it was just fun to play in dream land.  Sure, it would have been cool if she had had brown hair and eyes like we did, but she was still fun to play with and it never occurred to us to want anything different from our doll.

As I got older and contemplated starting my own family, I was excited to have a little girl, partly so that I could go back to buying dolls and Barbies and sharing that with her.  Well, I have two boys; neither of whom is very interested in playing with dolls.  My brother, though, has a little girl.  I was very excited to be able to share my love of Barbie with her.  Her mother, Marise, however, did not approve of Barbie.  She said that she didn’t want her little girl to grow up with poor self image; she would never look like Barbie.  I was stunned when she told me this.  To me, Barbie is just a doll.  With her, you can live in dreamland where you marry the handsome Ken, have a fabulous car and live in a gorgeous house. What’s wrong with that?  Then, I started to really think about it.  It is ok to dream about being rich enough to afford the house and the car of your dreams.  It is even kind of ok to dream about the man you are going to marry.  I mean, really, when you are a little girl, you don’t dream about marrying that man with a beer belly, balding hair and a great personality.  You dream of marrying the handsome prince charming.  It is not until you get older that you realize that it not the wrapping that counts, but the beautiful gift that your boyfriend or husband really is.  Then, the outside appearance really doesn’t even come into view.  But, is it ok, to dream and wish that you,yourself is perfect like Barbie. Should our little girls dream of having the perfect blonde hair, the tiny little waist and the impossibly large breasts?

30 years ago when I was a child, we didn’t really think about how girls thought about their body image.  Now,however with tv being such an important aspect of daily life (when I was a kid, we were only allowed to watch 1 hour a day and usually cartoons!), body image is something that children are really looking at and thinking about.  Everywhere we look, we see beautiful women on the big screen, we see them in magazines and on billboards. It is just now, that campaigns are starting to use the average looking person in their ads.  We want to connect with the people we see around us.  Barbie is now agreeing with this and has started a new line.  Barbie is evolving!

Watching this video, made me realize just how much little girls are seeing.  When they are reacting to the Barbies looking just like them, their mom, or their friends, you can really see the impact of the dolls.  It is nice to see that Maytel has recognized the change in girls.  In the following video, you see that girls still love playing with the original Barbie, but when one girl is asked what she thinks Barbie would do for a living, she says that Barbie is a party planner; something typical of a “girly girl. Then, the girls are shown the new Barbie line on a tablet and their reactions are priceless. One little girl even tackles the issue of bullying.  My favourite line from the commercial is “Everyone can be a Barbie.”

So,while I never really thought that there was anything wrong with the original Barbie, I am excited for the new line. The new Barbie will come in 4 different body types, 7 skin tones, 22 eye colours and 24 hairstyles.  I cannot wait to take my niece to pick out her special doll and see which one she will choose to take home with her.  If you would like to take a look at the line, you can preview the dolls and pre-order them here.

No, let’s petition Maytel and see if we can get a new Ken line too.  Then maybe, just maybe, my boys will want one and then I can play Barbie with them too!


3 thoughts on “COMM011- Blog Post 6- Barbie 2016

  1. There has been a demand for equality for a “Dad Bod Ken” all over Twitter: While many of those posts are facetious, equality is equality and it is only fair to not set unrealistic expectations for girls or boys in regards to the female or male body. What is important is for children to see themselves reflected in the dolls, whether that is skin colour or body type, and as you noted from the commercial “Everyone can be a Barbie”.

  2. I absolutely love this new line of Barbie dolls! I, like you, grew up playing with Barbies and was always so excited to get a new Barbie on my bday or Xmas. I did not grow up thinking this was a realistic picture of what women looked like but I can see how it would affect some little girls like that. Especially if they don’t have a strong woman role model in their lives to guide them. This new line of Barbies will help girls realize that we all come in different shapes, sizes and colours and everyone of us are beautiful! I love it!
    As for Ken…where do I sign the petition for the Dad bod??? 😉

  3. Great post! I have to say I was not a big Barbie Doll fan growing up, not sure why? I should have been given that there were all the rage. That said, I would say that we are better off with the new Barbie perhaps.

    The reality is that the perfect body image for women isn’t just a phenomenon of Barbie it permeates society and can lead to devastating consequences for some girls in terms of there body image. We only have to look to their mothers to know that. Dove’s Real Beauty Campaign which is 10 years old this year has done some great work branded content on women and body image.

    Here’s a link to one of my recent favorites.

    I imagine a lot of women in those videos played with Barbie Dolls, but again to be fair media in general continues to perpetuate many unrealistic ideals for women and their bodies. France has just passed a law requiring models to be certified as “healthy” to work and they also require any touched up photos that alter a model’s body to be labelled as touched up.

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