BY LONDON MACKALL
In economics, the term ‘elastic’ means being capable of returning to its original shape after being stretched, deformed, compressed or expanded.
“When you think of elastic you think of something that changes. With the Barbie image, it had no variation,” said Junior Fanta Traore.
Barbie dolls with super-thin waists and wardrobes that rival that of Michelle Obama’s have been cluttering children’s toy boxes, or the floors of their bedrooms, since they were first introduced in the 1950s.
Fortunately, it seems that the new year has brought some long-awaited changes to toy-giant, and creator of the Barbie doll, Mattel. Now the skinny Barbie dolls that many of the world played with as children have some company.
According to Forbes Staff Reporter Clare O’Connor, now the beloved dream house is full of new friends that come from Mattel’s 2016 Barbie Fashionista Line. O’Connor said that this new line of dolls includes curvy, petite and tall dolls that come in “seven skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles.”
This is quite a significant change for the doll who only wore heels for over 50 years.
Mattel’s changes to Barbie were overdue, but necessary nonetheless. According to DoSomething, approximately 91 percent of women are unhappy with their bodies and resort to dieting to achieve their ideal body shape. Barbie’s original thin physique limited the way that young girls could relate to her; now that she is petite, curvy and tall more children can feel a connection to this beloved doll.
These new dolls will surely liven up toy boxes that have only ever held dolls with otherworldly body proportions.
When Sharon D. Raynor, assistant professor of English at Johnson C. Smith University, reflected on her experiences playing with the doll she said that “giving a child a doll that does not emulate her own image has the power to reinforce the negative perception that her appearance is not acceptable.” If young girls are given the opportunity to play with dolls that look like themselves and the people that they know they will feel like they matter.
After years of predictability, Mattel finally did something that shocked many people; the company began making their dolls as diverse as the girls who play with them. The addition of these new dolls is certainly a turning point for the toy company, but this innovation should not stop.
The Barbie universe would benefit from even more skin tones, an array of interesting and fun careers and even more body types since there are more than just skinny, petite, curvy and tall people in the world.