I grew up with Barbie. I spent countless hours playing with my various Barbies as a child, and kept my collectibles in their boxes. As a matter of fact, I still love Barbie – from my Barbie cell phone case, Barbie attire, Barbie ornaments that decorate my desk at work, to the handheld Barbie mirror to go along with my makeup addiction I’m still hunting for.
Today, Barbie gave me another reason to fall in love with the brand – the launch of Project Dawn. Secretly for the past couple of years, Barbie has been working to revamp and diversify their brand/doll. It’s about freaking time. As much as I have always loved Barbie, I can’t understand why there was such a lack of diversity in the doll.
We all are familiar with all of the backlash Barbie has gotten over the years for her unrealistic standard of beauty. Heck, even when Mattel tried to make Barbie have unlimited career choices, Barbie was dressed as a doctor in a mini skirt. Today, the Mattel brand has finally made a more realistic effort in diversifying Barbie. She now comes in different heights, different body types, has different eye colors and eye shapes. They even made an effort for Barbie to have different haircuts, hair colors, and hair types, including the natural hair texture of African Americans (they still need a little work in this department, but I appreciate the effort).
I think that for so long Barbie has been trapped in the long ago days when she was first created – a time when women were simply expected to be “beautiful housewives.” In the world we live in today, women are far more liberated, and I believe that millennial parents are indeed questioning the representation of Barbie and what kind of role model she is. It’s been a long time coming, and Mattel and Barbie still have work to do, but the launch of Project Dawn is a step in the right direction.
By Courtney Hill, LCPC, Adjunct Supervisor at The Body Image Therapy Center. If you would like to get in touch with Courtney please call (877-674-2843) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.