On my fourth birthday, I opened a narrow package that was wrapped in pink wrapping paper. I sat in a sea of ribbons and polka dots. My tiny fingers couldn’t unwrap the present fast enough. At last, there she was. She was perfectly skinny, tall, tan and blonde. She was so new and shiny, I was nervous to expose her to the world in fear that somehow her delicate frame would shatter. My new Barbie was nothing short of perfection.
As I grew older, I started to notice that all the Barbie’s I collected looked the same. It puzzled me. True, some of them had different hair colors, but they were all stick-thin; their bodies were identical. Even from a young age I was tiny. I knew I would never be tall, and most of the time that thought never bothered me. But my room was filled with these dolls; these molds of perfection. It was an ever-constant reminder that unconsciously made me begin to question my own beauty. Barbie’s were perfect, and so to my small mind I began to think that tall and skinny meant perfection.
For years, Mattel has been criticized for Barbie’s unrealistic proportions and ethnocentric image. Barbie’s iconic look began to become more and more far fetched. The truth is, most girls will never be tall, blonde, and perfect. Children are indeed sponges; they absorb everything around them, even their toys. By giving them dolls that have unachievable body images, it gives them a skewed perspective of reality. The new line of Barbie’s is intended to take this problem head-on. With three different body sizes, eight different skin tones, fourteen different facial structures, twenty-two hairstyles, and eighteen different eye colors, Barbie’s image is more realistic than it has ever been. For generations to come, young girls will no longer have to question why they don’t look like the iconic Barbie. In this way, the new image of Barbie will help create positive self-esteem for children at a young age. It is a message that all kids should see; that people come in different shapes and sizes. And that everyone is beautiful in their own way.