Barbie reveals new body shapes and skin tones as part of #TheDollEvolves initiative

Matell is literally changing the face of Barbie for the first time since the doll's 1959 debut

Barbie has been given a "real-world" makeover, with Matell adding three new body shapes and seven skin tones to its range of dolls to make the toy "more reflective of the world girls see around them".

The move marks the first time in Barbie's 27-year history that her slim frame has been given an overhaul.

The latest collection, dubbed 'Fashionistas', comprises, tall, curvy and petite dolls and was announced by the toy firm on Twitter.

Barbie's new look aligns more closely with the brand's recently-adopted 'Imagine the Possibilities' positioning, which encourages young girls to push beyond traditional gender stereotypes and imagine themselves in non-traditional roles be it football coach or a vet.

The makeover also has the potential to offset the brand's declining sales, which noted a year-on-year dip of 14 per cent in 2015 to £302m.

Matell has faced longstanding criticism over the Barbie's unrealistic proportions, with some critics saying her tiny figure promotes an unrealistic body image for young women.

The doll has even landed herself the front cover of the most recent issue of Time magazine, starring in a feature about what her new shape means for "American beauty".

“Barbie has always given girls choices – from her 180 careers, to inspirational roles, to her countless fashions and accessories,” said Evelyn Mazzocco, senior vice-president and global general manager at Barbie.

"We are excited to literally be changing the face of the brand – 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.”

“We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty,” she added.

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