Feminist Barbie

Mattel’s new line of Barbies have been released recently and she is looking.. well, actually what isn’t she looking?


For years, Barbie has been used as an example in so many discussions about unrealistic portrayals of the female form. Her impossibly slender form, that dizzyingly imbalanced boob to foot size ratio, criticisms were valid and frequent. As a child this didn’t really phase me, entering my tweens, leaving Barbie behind, I began to realize that perhaps growing up into a body that looked just like my favourite toy may not be as possible as I had always imagined (and that’s not because of my inability to own a dream house and a pink Jeep.)

Recently third wave feminism has saturated the media, companies from Virgin Media to Always have been using the empowered woman, the This Girl Can approach to market their products. Sceptically one could argue that capitalism and feminism don’t naturally go hand-in-hand and that using women’s rights to sell stuff is perhaps of slightly questionable morals, however at the end of the day, consumerism aside, it gets the message to the masses. Barbie just recently has caught on and has become a far more diverse and inclusive product in doing-so.

Not long ago the Moschino Barbie was introduced as ‘So fierce’ by a little boy in her commercial, beginning a dialogue about gender roles and children’s toys. Barbie also has a Vlog in which she talks about being all that you can be and even introduced Mae Jemison (African American- female astronaut, doctor all round inspiration)to her young audience. The new dolls soon to be released promise to be curvy, tall, short, petite, and with a range of ethnicities and hair types. As seen in he advert, children can play with a doll that looks like them, that they can relate to, and because of this be able to identify themselves as members of a growingly diverse world.  Barbie has moved into 2016 as an inspirational, important feminist icon for children and that is something that in the 90’s one would never have guessed.





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