The New Barbies

Barbie Shaped My Idea Of Womanhood, And I Actually Hope They Will For My Future Daughter Too

From inclusive doll lines to mental health vlogs.

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Barbie has been a household staple for as long as most people can remember. The collection of Barbie dolls I had growing up was a collection of the dolls my mom had bought my sister and I, the dolls my mom had growing up and the dolls my grandmother had growing up. Three generations of Barbie dolls sat in my room. Three generations of Barbie dolls helped to shape my idea of womanhood.

The bulk of Barbie dolls I saw growing up were what you normally think of when you think of Barbie dolls-- the fashionistas, the beach girls, things like that. However, when I was a little older, I got one doll and absolutely lost my mind over how much in love with it I was. It was a pediatrician Barbie. It was what I wanted to be when I grew up. It was the first time I remember Barbie or one of the Barbie sets being sold as a scientist or doctor or something other than "girly."

Then, last year, I broke down crying in the Barbie aisle of a Target because they were selling an "all female ticket" set. It was two Barbie dolls in professional clothing running for president and vice president, respectively. I hadn't seen a Barbie in a while and suddenly seeing such progressive dolls when they usually tend to be more stereotypical made me lose it.

Then I started seeing Barbie's vlogs pop up on my Twitter timeline, so I started to look into what Barbie was up to nowadays.

Mattel has introduced the "Fashionistas" to the Barbie collection. This collection consists of Barbie's of different shapes, including plus sized Barbies, and Barbies with different skin tones. It also introduces different Ken dolls. They have three different Ken body types-- original, broad and slim. Ken dolls also now come in different skin tones. This is a big change for Barbie. The first dolls of color I remember seeing from Barbie were the MyScene dolls. They were multi-ethnic, and people said the resembled the Bratz dolls.


Barbie's new "Fashionistas" line.

However, up until now, I don't remember seeing any dolls of different sizes. The move to make Barbies in different sizes is a big one, considering Barbie's size is one of the most iconic things about her. Having little girls and young teens seeing their sizes being represented is huge in promoting body positivity and acceptance from a young age. It can also help to reduce the need younger girls have to attain a doll-like figure.

They have also introduced a Role Models line, consisting of powerful and inspirational women from all over the world. Some of the dolls include Frida Kahlo, Patty Jenkins, Bindi Irwin, and Katherine Johnson.


Some of the dolls in the "Role Models" collection.

Barbie is also now a vlogger. At first, I thought this was just going to be a cheap way for the company to appeal to younger kids and get in on the trends, but once I sat down and watched a few of them, I was really impressed. The vlogs depict Barbie as a teenager living in Malibu. They are filmed in her bedroom and sometimes feature her friends or her boyfriend, Ken of course. They're animated (but a lot better animated than the old Barbie movies). There are some that are just basic YouTube trends like "My Boyfriend Does My Makeup," and "10 Things About Me," but there are also some deeper ones.

She has some that discuss the "dream gap," the time when girls between the ages of 6 and 7 start to doubt their intelligence. She also has some about the sorry reflex, making our voices count, mental health and so much more. Considering that they could have used this Barbie vlogging idea to just make a quick buck, but have instead used it to encourage young girls and teach them valuable lessons, shows you what the company is about.

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I'm Not 'Spoiled,' I Just Won't Apologize For Having Great Parents

Having supportive parents is one of the best things that ever happened to me.

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When I tell people that I am the baby of my family, there is always a follow-up question asking if I am spoiled. As I was a child, perhaps the situation was a little different because I did not receive material things but instead got my way or rarely was punished. I was most likely spoiled rotten in that sense, especially by my grandparents. Fast forward to the age of 19 and I can say that my parents give me everything that I need, not necessarily everything that I want.

But I still don't think I'm spoiled.

I might legally be an adult, but my parents still provide for me. I may live at school during the semester, but my parents don't charge me rent or utilities when I am at home. My mom still does my laundry. They pay my phone bill monthly. When my mom goes grocery shopping, she doesn't have me chip in to help. She will make sure the bathroom is stocked with tampons or shampoo so I don't have to worry about it. The both of them make sure I have the sufficient needs to not be hungry, cold, or without shelter.

They do all of these things because they want what is best for me.

While they pay my student loans, I give them money to cover it as well as a little extra each month for different expenses. If we go out to eat, I do offer to pay but often get shut down and end up leaving the tip instead. I help around the house and sometimes make trips to the store for food or cleaning supplies, not asking for money to be paid back.

I have a job that gives me decent hours, but my parents understand that money for a college kid is tough.

I pay for my own luxuries such as makeup, cute clothes, even to get my hair cut. Spoiled is typically defined as "damaged by having been given everything they want." Do I want another dog? Yes. Do I have one? No. Do I want a swimming pool in my backyard? Yes. Do I have one? Again, no. That is because both my mother and father still believe in working for what you want and even their daughter doesn't get a free pass unless it's her birthday or Christmas. Do I still have everything I could ever need? Yes.

My parents do the exact same thing for my brother and sister who are older than I am.

I know if I have a problem, whether it be financial or crucial, I can turn to them for help. A lot of people my age don't have parents like I do and I am extremely grateful for them and everything that they do. Thanks, Mom and Dad.

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True Tales Of Growing Up In A BIG Family

Spoiler alert, I get tackled a lot.

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I was born into a fairly large family. I have upwards of twenty-something first cousins, many of who are around the same age as me. It has honestly been both a blessing and a curse to have so many people around me all the time. Some of my favorite memories come from family gatherings where all of my cousins were there. However, since most of my cousins are male, there has also been a lot of physical violence where people get hurt, even if the intentions were innocent. I have so many stories about my family, some of which I won't share here because they are a little bit inappropriate, but others are too good not to share.

The first story I want to share is from this past Easter. Most of my cousins on my Dad's side were at my Papa's house celebrating the holiday. There was so much food we could probably feed a small army. Some of the older cousins decided that we were going to play a game of whiffle ball. All of the cousins who were playing were at least sixteen and some of them were much older. Many of us had or are playing sports in High School or College so this game of whiffle ball got extremely competitive very fast. I ended up being the Umpire/pitcher because I played softball for so long. The game ended with my brothers winning and my other cousins upset that they lost, but it was still one of the memories I will cherish the most even though I definitely threw out my shoulder pitching.

I can remember playing a game of football on Thanksgiving when I was young (maybe five or six). This game, not unlike the whiffle ball game we played at Easter, got super competitive super fast to the point where even I, as a six-year-old, was being pushed and tackled to the ground by much older boys. I honestly can't remember much about that game, maybe I got hit in the head too much, but I do remember having so much fun playing with my cousins.

I've been on a cruise two times in my life, both times with my extended family. One cruise was to Mexico when I was very little. What I remember about that cruise was getting extremely sea sick and that the cleaning staff would make towel monkey on our beds. The cruise was to Alaska when I was a lot older, I think I was fifteen. Since I and my cousins were much older on that cruise, we caused a lot more trouble and were able to get away with it. Every night we would go to the pool and swim. Then, we would go to the buffet and only eat pineapples and mac and cheese. We, also, may have or may not have gone into a bar to sing karaoke. While the cruise was fun, I wouldn't have had such a great time if I wasn't with my family.

While sometimes they can be a pain, having so much family has taught me a lot about communication and playing right. Again, I only have scratched the surface here in regards to the plentiful stories I have, many of which are so much funnier. I love my family so much and I would never trade that in for the world.

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