If there was one thing that you could count on as a kid, it was good old Barbie. You always got Barbies as birthday presents and she was pretty perfect. She had the best hair, the best boyfriend (Ken, of course) and, if you were lucky, hopefully you had the Barbie dream house, too. On Thursday, Mattell made a massive announcement: Barbies will now come in seven different skin tones and four different body types. Hallelujah, right? Social media went wild and everyone thought that this was definitely about time -- and possibly even way too many decades too late. But the news is both good and bad: on the one hand, it's a great idea for Barbie to look more realistic, but on the other hand, maybe a doll can't be such a huge indicator of social change. Here are 12 reasons the new Barbie is kind of ridiculous.
12 She Promotes Diversity
It's pretty awful to grow up and never see yourself reflected in the toys that you play with. It's awesome that the new Barbie will be culturally diverse and promote thinking about yourself in a super positive way, which is always a good thing when you're a kid and need all the help you can get in that department. But is it way too late? Barbie has been around since 1959, so it's not like diversity has only become an issue in 2016. And what about all those kids from past decades who needed to see themselves in their dolls? It sucks for them that they never had a culturally diverse Barbie.
11 Sales Are Way Down
Is this new change just a last-ditch effort for the company to see its sales increase once again? The past three years haven't been super kind to Mattell as they announced that their sales have decreased. Maybe this is one of those things where the right thing was done for the right reasons but also in the name of capitalism, too. It's hard to know. But maybe we shouldn't look a gift-horse in the mouth and just be glad that this positive change is happening at all.
10 It's Just A Doll
Sure, diversity and positive body image are always good things, and we should never complain when the media talks about them. But come on. The new Barbie is kind of ridiculous, because at the end of the day, she's just a doll. End of story. If we really want to talk about loving yourself no matter what you look like or what your body type is, we should be educating kids at school about self-love and self-care. It seems like a huge waste that such important issues aren't being talked about in an educational setting. It's just not enough for the conversation to be about a Barbie doll.
9 Body Image Matters
It's super amazing that the new Barbie will come in four different body types -- her super skinny frame was all kinds of lame considering the fact that it's unhealthy to starve yourself and ensure that you stay as thin as possible if that's not your natural, healthy body type. Like race, having a positive body image is an issue that is much bigger and more important than just a doll. So sure, we can be glad that Barbie will be curvy. But is it really such a big deal? Really?
8 Barbie Needs A Job
She needs tons of jobs, actually. Sure, the beauty of being a kid who plays with dolls is you can make up fabulous stories and have Barbie live all kinds of different lives. But one of the usual complaints against the doll was that she didn't work and wasn't smart. Remember the controversy back in the 1990s when Barbie said "Math class is tough"? So maybe, along with body image and race, the new Barbie should be a super ambitious, motivated, career professional. A huge part of loving yourself is realizing that you can literally be anything that you want and have any job that you want. So why wasn't that part of the new change?
7 Girls Have Moved On
Ask any young girl under the age of 13 what she cares about, and it's not going to be Barbie. Maybe she's a huge Frozen fan (along with the rest of the planet) or she's obsessed with the iPad (and uses her parents' iPad any chance she gets). Basically, Barbie hasn't been culturally relevant for a long time. Kids today really want to grow up super fast and be like adults, and are much more likely to steal their mom's iPhone to take some adorable selfies than beg for a doll.
6 It's Years Too Late
Come on, world. The time for a new, diverse Barbie has long passed, and it's pretty difficult to get super excited about something that should already have happened. Plus there’s the fact that the company has come out with tons of new dolls over the years, so why is this such a big thing? Apparently when dolls called Bratz came out, young girls started buying those in droves and left Barbie far, far behind, so this new change might be just way too late.
5 It Might Not Help
All girls grow up with some sort of body image issues -- an unfortunate fact, but still a reality for every woman under the sun. Just because you're short or curvy (or both) and you look at a Barbie that has your same body type, doesn't really mean that you're never going to hate your body or feel insecure. It's still up to parents and teachers and family members and family friends (basically, anyone who has any dealings with young girls) to really make them feel at home in their own bodies.
4 Who Needs More Eye Colors?
Perhaps the weirdest part of the new Barbie plans? The fact that the new dolls will now have 22 different eye colors. Yup, 22. Who even knew that was possible and there were that many? But besides the fact that 22 is an alarmingly high number (and an awesome Taylor Swift song, of course), there’s the fact that eye color seems like a silly thing to focus on. Young girls don’t care about the eye color of their dolls. They really don’t. No child is ever going to say “yeah, I’ve got green eyes but Barbie has blue so that’s not good.” They’re really not even going to notice.
3 Where Are The Changes To Ken?
It may seem like a joke – and yes, it’s definitely pretty funny – but lots of guys have been speaking out about the fact that there are going to be zero changes to the Ken dolls. Men want Ken to represent what they look like as well, and in this case, that would mean that the dolls have “dad bods” like real-life males. It may seem hilarious, but it’s not actually the worst idea in the world. If you’re going to enact change, why not go all the way and change Ken as well as Barbie? Why not?
2 The Change Is Still Superficial
Yes, it’s awesome to talk about being diverse and having different body types. Only good can come from that. But at the same time, we can’t ignore a very obvious, superficial thing about the new dolls: there’s a huge focus on hairstyles. There are going to be 24 different hairstyles on the new Barbies. Yes. Really. If we’re talking about such important and serious issues as loving your body the way it is, how can we really care what hairstyle our doll has? Doesn’t that seem kind of weird?
1 Some Moms Are Not Into Barbies
Many mothers were interviewed in a recent L.A. Times story and they said they just don’t love Barbies that much at all and would rather their kids not play with them, period. So when you look at the issue like that, how can these changes convince those moms otherwise? Basically, they can’t. People are allowed to have their strong opinions and you can’t think that one marketing change is going to convince them otherwise. And who’s buying products? Not the young girls but the mothers. So if you haven’t gotten the moms, you’re not successful at all. Food for thought.