Besides this being both my and my son’s birthday month, I am also extremely excited for and proud of Mattel’s continued efforts to help our children recognize a broader view of beauty with their Barbie Fashionista range which incorporates the diversity that surrounds us all the time.
So many times we look back and reminisce the old days when life was ‘easier’ and ‘kids were kids’. So many ugly and negative things today we wish our kids were never exposed to. Perhaps the old days were good days, but that certainly does not mean they were any better than they are today. Among many others, the “Me Too” movement has proven how far we’ve actually come and how much we, as a human race, have matured. If you really think about it, we have more power today to make things so much better than what they were yesterday.
My sweet daughter is turning 8 this year and even though I have been buying her Barbie dolls for a long time, Barbie only really started to appeal to her very recently. A tender time in a young girl’s life – she’s just come from toddler-hood and nearing adolescence. It’s important that our young girls are exposed to positivity about their bodies, their skin colour, their hair types and even their sense of style.
It is perhaps no coincidence that the Barbie brand celebrates its 59th anniversary the day after International Women’s Day on 8 March 2018, celebrating women from all walks of life, all shapes, all sizes, all colours, and all creeds.
The Barbie Fashionista range has its roots in 2015, which saw the launch of a brand new Barbie crew featuring 23 dolls with a range of skin tones, facial structures, and hair colours. The popularity of the new line saw the official launch of the Fashionista label in 2016, with the introduction of three new body types – tall, curvy and petite – seven skin tones, 14 facial structures, 22 eye colours and 24 hairstyles. Plus, of course, countless new on-trend fashions and accessories to suit each individual doll, from casually cool and boho bold, to elegant evening wear and pretty much everything in between!
In 2017, this remarkable range won the coveted Toy of the Year award, in the Doll category, for its bold introduction of diversity, literally changing the face of the stereotypical Barbie brand by introducing new dolls with new body shapes, new face shapes, new skin tones, and new hairstyles.
The importance of exposing our children to diversity and providing them with imaginative toys that allow them to see themselves in their imaginary play cannot be overstated. Today, the Fashionista range features over 100 dolls of diverse appearance, and it continues to grow.
The 2018 range will bring with it even more variety, introducing another four body types, nine skin tones, 13 face-sculpts, nine eye colours, 11 hair colours and 13 hairstyles.
“Barbie has always given girls choices – from her 180 careers, to inspirational roles, to her countless fashions and accessories,” says Andrea Ziella, Head of Marketing and Trade Marketing, Mattel SA. “These new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them – the variety in body type, skin tones and style allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them.”
Barbie fans can now choose their Barbie to look just like them or create a group of friends to mimic their own friendship circles.
By allowing our children to choose a Barbie in their own image, or in the image of their best friend, or favourite actress, singer, movie star, or sporting hero, we are encouraging them to see the beauty that not only lies in their own shape, colour, and style but also in the various shapes, colours and styles that surround them.
We live in an increasingly diverse world, it is not only natural but crucial, that our children’s imaginary worlds represent this diversity.
Images are taken from https://barbie.mattel.com/en-us/about/role-models.html
Happy International Women’s Month, and remember, you can be anything.