Barbie's manufacturer, Mattel, announced Thursday that the doll has three new body types -- curvy, tall and petite. Barbie will also now come in seven skin tones, 22 eye colours and 24 hairstyles. Mattel spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni said the product is evolving to "offer more choices" to make "the line more reflective of the world girls see around them."
But Kris Macomber, who teaches sociology at Meredith College in Raleigh, North Carolina, says she's "reluctant to celebrate Barbie's new strategy because it doesn't change the fact that Barbie dolls and other kinds of fashion dolls still over-emphasize female beauty. Sure, all body types should be valued. And, sure, all skin colours should be valued equally. But why must we keep sending girls the message that being beautiful is so important?"...Yeah, Mattel, whassup with that?
Here's one way for Mattel to get some respect: create a gender-fluid Barbie who comes in 11--count 'em 11--different varieties.