Have you come across the huge wave of social media appreciation that has gone Mattel – The Barbie Maker’s – way, ever since the release of their new dolls this year? I did, and it made me so very happy! Now, aside from the original Barbie body, the Barbie Fashionistas Line has “petite”, “curvy” and “tall” dolls too. Isn’t that simply wonderful?
Maybe this diversification of Barbie body types affected me more deeply because I have a closer insight into feminine body image issues. As an image consultant and fashion stylist, I’m privy to the insecurities and desires of women from different walks of life. You have no idea how many of these arise from a mindless longing for “the perfect body”.
Today, with so much discourse on the female body, numerous body types and new definitions of “perfection”, things are changing. Slowly perhaps, but there has certainly been some progress. I mean, look at this Fashionistas Line of Barbies that has been released in 2016. It has dolls with 4 body types, 7 skin tones, 22 eye colours, 24 hairstyles and many stylistic nuances. The first-ever flat shoes on a Barbie are also finally here. Surely, we are moving towards a healthier understanding of diversity and individualism and that is brilliant, no less.
In my opinion, this respect and appreciation of all body types is absolutely essential. We are all born unique, with varied physical features, and that’s just how it is. No brand, no toy and no designer label should set standards of beauty common to all, when we are all born so differently. True, the hour-glass figure has been considered the best female form since times immemorial. But we need to move beyond this mind-block and realise that different proportions suit different body structures and beauty is in fact, in the eyes of the beholder. As women, we should be intensely aware and proud of our bodily form and dress to accentuate our assets. We should wear clothes that flatter our body shape and that will boost our confidence in many, many ways.
With Mattel having realized this, the iconic Barbie is now a better reflection of different feminine body structures and complexions. This is a step in the right direction. I hope you’re headed the same way too!