Redefining Barbie

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Director , Business Development

Mattel recently released three new body shapes (petite, tall, and curvy) for the world’s best-selling doll. It’s a physical change that reimagines 57 years of the prototypical busty and thin-waisted body that epitomizes the Barbie brand. However, much more than a simple alteration of the world’s most infamous body, it’s a mental and emotional transformation of the brand that is adding depth to the positive body movement.


Body talk is an incredibly important topic, and yet is still very controversial in the U.S. As we move away from traditional American beauty ideals of slim, blonde, and blue-eyed, and start embracing more evolved symbols of modern-day beauty like Beyoncé, Christina Hendricks and millennial feminist leaders like Lena Dunham, it seems that beauty standards are shifting towards a more accepting culture, a culture that is revolutionizing the way Barbie-lovers see themselves.

Barbie’s got a new body, and frankly, we’re loving it. “Introducing the 2016 Barbie® Fashionistas™ Dolls. Releasing over time throughout the year, the line includes 4 body types, 7 skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, and countless on-trend fashions and accessories.” According to Time, “the company hopes that the new dolls, with their diverse body types, along with the new skin tones and hair textures introduced last year, will more closely reflect their young owners’ world.” While some fear that this movement could backfire and be translated incorrectly across a multitude of cultures and languages, we’re pumped that Barbie took a much-needed risk in the right direction.

They’re calling it Project Dawn, an initiative that stemmed from head of the Barbie brand, Evelyn Mazzocco’s own personal mission to understand Mattel’s decreasing sales in 2014. “When COO Richard Dickson put people with creative backgrounds at the head of several brands, the first thing Mazzocco did in that role was survey Barbie’s haters.” She internalized all of consumer frustrations in an effort to remind herself about the reality of the brand situation.

“Yes, some people will say we are late to the game,” says Mazzocco. “But changes at a huge corporation take time.”

In our humble opinion – if some consumers can’t appreciate their steps forward, tough. “Ultimately, haters are going to hate,” Dickson says. “We want to make sure the Barbie lovers love us more—and perhaps changing the people who are negative to neutral. That would be nice.”