Recently, after 57 years of criticism about her looks (at least — it’s possible some man was complaining about her pre-debut), Barbie finally showed off a couple of new shapes. Mattel, feeling the burn of shrinking sales for the past several years as newer, more novel dolls (such as the juggernaut of the 21st-century Disney princesses, Elsa and Anna) responded to the decades-long outcry over Barbie’s impossibly thin figure with three additional models, curvy, tall, and petite, to complement the Original.
This is, many would agree, a Step in the Right Direction, and also an attempt to move a lot more units than Mattel is currently doing.
I generally support Mattel in its pursuit of more body-positive fashion dolls, and in its attempts — even if a little late in the game — to make the array of humans in Barbie’s world more diverse. But, while Mattel is at it, I, a longtime fan and first-time caller, have a few requests for other Barbies I would like to see in the world. You know, dolls that are a little more representative of me, and the kinds of women I know and love.
New-Mom Barbie: This Barbie can be tall, petite, curvy, or original of figure. What is important is that her clothes should be rumpled and her hair greasy and unwashed, possibly frizzy. There should be unidentified white splotches on her shirt and the thigh area of her jeans. She should have used tissues peeking out of all pockets and be wearing at least one piece of seasonally inappropriate outerwear (parka and it’s 60 degrees). She almost always has at least one or two very large pimples, regardless of her age.
Short-Hair Barbie, for Once: I searched the Barbie website, and this has almost never happened. What gives? Barbie would look so, so good with cute short hairstyles. Why did I have to spend so much time and effort in 1988 trying to give my girl a decent Twiggy cut? (Always ended in tears.) Also, while we’re at it, can we get Barbie some glasses?
Laundry-Day Barbie, Who Just Needs to Run Out for One Second in Her Pizza Sweatshirt and Jeans With a Crotch Hole and Immediately Runs Into Someone She’d Like to Impress: Does this one even need an explanation? :(
Barbie Who Has Better Things to Do, Actually: This is the Barbie I was born to have. A Barbie who is generally clean and well-groomed, hair neatly brushed, but who, beyond that, puts in the absolute minimal effort possible in order to be accepted into various everyday societal situations: work, the library, the grocery store, the Post Office. She doesn’t carry a purse, and she wears comfortable shoes. If she wears makeup, it’s only to cover under-eye bags or blemishes. Barbie is too busy to fuck around with her wardrobe, and she certainly isn’t dressing to impress what’s-his-name.