Mattel announced today that it is now offering Barbie dolls in three new body types: tall, curvy and petite. The move is widely presumed to be a response to long-standing calls for the dolls to better represent “real” women, including flattening her feet so she can wear something other than high heels.
According to Yahoo! News, Mattel spokeswoman Michelle Chidoni claimed the brand wanted “the product line to be a better reflection of what girls see in the world around them.”
What do you think: is this a savvy move for the brand, or too little, too late? What does it say that we still distill a doll down to her body, rather than the imagination of the child playing with it? Do children need to see “representative” dolls?
Note too, in the Time magazine article, that the company not only had to find three “appropriate” words for the three new body types, but translate them to international audiences without offending anyone – no small feat for a global brand.