Positive body image achieved with new Barbie collection

by CHESANIE BRANTLEY/Editor-in-Chief

Body image is an important part of every little girl’s life.

Mattel released the 2016 Collection of Barbies on Feb. 4. The new collection features four different body types, seven different skin tones, 22 eye colors and 24 hairstyles.

Throughout the years, the original Barbie has received a lot of criticism about it’s unrealistic proportions. Critics even said if Barbie was a real person she would have trouble walking on two legs.

The first Barbie was released in 1959 and featured one body type (which was ridiculously unattainable): straight, long blonde hair, long legs and blue eyes. Through the years, there have been more variations in skin tone and hair color, but not much, and there has been no variation in body type.

Being a brunette with curly hair, brown eyes and short legs, seeing that this Barbie was considered “beautiful” was discouraging as a little girl. I would think about myself as a teenager, or even a young adult, and hope I would dye my hair, straighten the curls away, and keep up Barbie’s perfect physique.

Obviously, that didn’t happen.

Thankfully, as I got older, my mother was there to tell me I was beautiful just the way I was, and she has continued to do the same for the rest of my siblings. If it was not for our society glorifying the way Barbie looked, would I have even had that problem in the first place? No, I would not.

ches body image

The first time I saw news about the new collection I was skimming Facebook and ran across one of the million articles that pop up on everyone’s feeds daily. I clicked this one though, because the headline talked about a Barbie being released with an average 19-year-old American girl’s proportions. I immediately thought that was the coolest thing that I had seen in a long time.

Now there are curvy, petite, tall and many other body types, along with all of the natural hair colors. The Barbies have wide hips, like a real woman would, and flat feet. I even saw a Barbie with black hair and blue highlights. This new Barbie is awesome.

The 2016 Collection features all body types, hair colors and skin tones. This, in turn, will create a positive body image for the girls who are playing with them. Barbies, in the past, have been considered to have the “perfect body,” which creates a negative body image for girls who do not look exactly like that.

There is a stigma, for most people, that only overweight people have negative body image. This is totally untrue. People of all ages and sizes can look at their own body in a negative way. However, the 2016 Collection of Barbie has taller, petite Barbies, along with the curvy ones, which I think is awesome.

Mattel has truly done something extraordinary with this new collection. I admire the company for that, and cannot wait to buy my 5-year-old little sister a Barbie that looks just like her, curly brown hair, chubby cheeks and all.

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