15 years ago, I was like every little girl: I played with Barbies. I made up stories with them, I dressed them, I left them sleeping in their own beds at night. Never once did I get upset because the Barbies didn’t look like me. As a child, I didn’t even think about it.
And sure, when I grew up I slowly realized that the Barbie I played with weren’t the same size as I was, she had clearer skin, and her hair was much more shiny than mine. Of course, I read the articles about how her body wasn’t proportionate and no woman could look like her anyway.
This morning, I thought Barbie had done it. They had finally released a Barbie that could look like me and one that I could relate to (not that I play with Barbies anymore, but still, it would’ve been pretty cool). I pretty quickly realized that, while some of the new Barbies are curvier and have more realistic-ish body types, none of them look like me.
Their hips are wider, and their thighs are bigger, sure. But their faces are still clear and flawless, their arms are essentially the same size, the thigh gap that I’ll never have still exists, and their hands are still dainty and nice. Below is a picture of one of the new curvier dolls’ head – let me know what you think.
Would you have known she was from the new collection if I hadn’t told you? When are we going to talk about the elephant in the room? Where are their double chins? Their stretch marks? Where is the crippling self doubt they feel when they try on clothes around all the other, skinnier barbies? It must still be in the factory because I don’t see it here.
I know that Barbie is just a doll, and maybe people will think I shouldn’t be making such a big deal about this. But everyone else is. Time’s headline about this new doll is: “Now can we stop talking about my body?” Hate to break it to you, Barbie, but people are going to be talking about your body forever. That’s how life works.
I’ve struggled with body image my whole life, and when Barbie is finally supposed to have helped with that, they’ve failed.
Let’s call it like it is Barbie: your sales were down, you wanted to be proactive and accepted by the changing society, so you put out this line of new Barbies that are supposed to look more realistic. While you accomplished this slightly,
it’s not enough.
Look at the pictures, and show me where the arms are different on these Barbies. I know for a fact I don’t have the same arm size as my friends. I also know that my face, with it’s plastic “I’m okay” smile, isn’t the same shape or size as everyone else’s. Try again, Barbie. You’re on the right track.
Featured Image via Barbie.