A few months ago the mainstream media got into a tizzy when Mattel announced that it was releasing a new line of Barbie dolls that have less-than-perfect bodies. (Or at least what society considers to be less-than-perfect bodies.) Barbie even made the cover of Time magazine.
Basically Mattel released a line of new dolls, known as Barbie Fashionistas, in a variety of different body types other than the standard body that generations of girls have known (you know, the one with the big boobs and tiny waist). There are three different body types in this line—Petite, Tall, and Curvy.
At first these new dolls could only be ordered online through Mattel.com’s website. I had wanted to buy one of the dolls because I think it’s cool that Mattel is doing this and I wanted to support the company with my money and each doll had a retail price of only $10. But I didn’t get around to ordering one because of spending priorities (mainly paying my bills).
But a few weeks ago I happened to be walking around in Target when I saw those Barbie Fashionistas on sale for the same $10 retail price. So I decided to buy one for myself since I didn’t have to worry about paying shipping charges (like I would’ve done had I ordered through Mattel’s website).
The most expensive doll on sale was this Tall doll that cost around $19.99 but that’s because this doll came with two additional outfits, which is a pretty good deal.
I ended up picking the Curvy doll who’s labeled as “Sweetheart Stripes.” I decided on this doll because my body is on the curvy side and I really loved her outfit plus that awesome blue and black hair. Usually one sees such unusual hair colors on Barbie if she’s dressed as a fairy, mermaid, or some other type of fantasy character but not if she’s depicted as an ordinary everyday human female.
The back of the package shows the variety of Barbies (along with a few Ken dolls as well) that are currently available as part of the Barbie Fashionistas line. Not only are a variety of body types represented but these dolls come in a variety of ethnicities, skin colors, hair colors, eye colors, and different style of clothes.
I removed Barbie from her package, which was pretty easy to do because her package isn’t very elaborate. (I know there are adult Barbie collectors who are adamant that a Barbie doll must NEVER be removed from her package no matter what. I’m not one of them. There was no way I could get a closer look at her had I kept her packaged up, which would’ve made writing this post very difficult.) She’s a very pretty doll and her hair is so soft. Barbie definitely has a thicker body than most Barbies I’ve seen in the past but she still has style despite her curves. She can definitely rock her very cool outfit.
Her hair is mostly blue with a few black stripes. She definitely looks like she’s ready to go nightclubbing at a local place that plays a variety of alternative music like punk, grunge, and techno.
Barbie comes with these really cool purple shades that are currently attached to her head with rubber bands. I haven’t gotten around to removing them because I really like these sunglasses. They totally accent her face.
I can easily pull up the sunglasses if I want to get a look at her face while pushing her hair back. She’s got a very pleasing face. I’ve seen way too many Barbie dolls over the years that have a lot of makeup slathered on her face until she looks clownish. This doll’s makeup is very understated and tasteful. Her face is definitely a winner.
I decided to compare this doll to another Barbie that I currently have around the house. The doll on the left is one of those poseable Barbie dolls who’s completely articulated everywhere except for the waist. I purchased that doll a few years ago to use in various doll photography projects (such as the Occupy the Dollhouse photography series). When placed together side-by-side, you can definitely tell the difference between the two dolls in the arms, the legs, hips, and buttocks.
Compared to the Sweetheart Stripes doll’s body, the Barbie on the left looks like she has chicken legs while the other doll has full womanly legs.
Compared to the doll on the left, which has a variety of articulated joints that enable the doll to have totally free motion and can strike a variety of poses, the Curvy Barbie only has joints at the neck, shoulders, and top of the thighs. Her knees can’t even bend so it’s awkward to have her sit down (unless you’re doing a beach scene where she’s sitting up on a blanket). She also can’t move her arms very much to do even a simple wave.
The differences between the two dolls are even more pronounced when their clothes are removed. The Barbie on the left seems like she would be more appropriate for doing some kind of a concentration camp diorama. The doll on the right looks pretty well fed yet she’s not obese either.
Viewing the dolls from behind, it’s obvious who has the most junk in the trunk.
Barbie’s big butt is especially pronounced when viewed from the side. Despite the thicker arms and legs and the big butt, Barbie still has an amazingly flat stomach while her breasts are the same size as her skinnier counterpart on the left.
It looks like the Curvy Barbie on the right has bigger feet than the other Barbie but, amazingly, I was able to get the two of them to swap shoes with no trouble at all. Both feet have that elevated position so they could wear high heels.
I tried getting them to swap clothes. The Curvy Barbie’s skirt is way too big for the other Barbie.
Yet she can fit the other doll’s top perfectly. I think it’s because both dolls have essentially the same sized breasts and upper torso so swapping tops is no problem at all.
Having the two dolls swap clothes is only an issue when it comes to swapping clothes that fit below the waist.
Like I wrote earlier, swapping shoes between the two dolls is surprisingly easy.
I tried putting the other Barbie’s dress on the Curvy Barbie. I was able to get the dress on her but it’s a bit on the tight side.
I was barely able to get the velcro fasteners to close and even then I was only able to get the two sides to connect on opposite ends instead of down the middle (what you would usually do when you try to get two velcro sides to connect together).
Here’s the bottom line. I think the idea of coming out with Barbies in different body types is long overdue. For years I’ve heard criticism that Barbie’s body have encouraged low self-esteem in girls to the point of becoming anorexic. With Barbie coming in different body types (along with different skin and hair colors), a parent can now buy a doll that’s more like their child than ever before. There are a few things that Mattel needs to work on. One, make the doll more poseable. It doesn’t have to be very extensive. The Barbie I had as a child had bendable knees so she could sit in a chair like a real woman without having her legs stick out in an awkward horizontal position. Another thing would be to come out with clothes especially made for that doll’s body type. When I was growing up I loved to change Barbie’s outfits on a frequent basis. In fact, I loved it when my parents bought new clothes for my Barbie doll as birthday or Christmas presents. I think most kids with the new bodies would love to be able to play dress-up with their doll using clothes that actually fits the doll.
But, all in all, it’s a great first step for Mattel and I hope they keep up with this new line.