Popular toy manufacturer Mattel has transformed its iconic Barbie dolls with new hair, body types and skin color. The best selling doll now has three body types and seven skin tones — all in tall, petite and curvy models.
The new dolls will now be sold along the original Barbie as a part of “Project Dawn.”
Barbie has been at the center of numerous controversies in the past because of her impossible proportions. Although the doll's tiny figure has undergone slight changes over the years, even making its body modestly realistic, Mattel seemed unwilling to make more dramatic changes to the doll.
The doll manufacturer even dismissed concerns about Barbie's unrealistic shape, suggesting that children do not have the same perceptions as adult do and the shape of a doll cannot promote unhealthy dieting habits.
However, the upcoming change, the most radical of which belongs to the curvy Barbie, is not just about promoting healthier body perception. — it also has a lot to do with keeping sales from plummeting even further. After all, it’s no secret that Barbie has witnessed a loss in revenue in recent years as she struggled to remain relevant to girls with diverse bodies and backgrounds.
“This is about drawing a wider demographic that had turned away from Barbie back to Barbie,” said Jim Silver, the editor of TTPM, a toy review website.
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However, the latest stunt seems to have paid off, at least for the time being, as Time magazine commissioned Japanese photographer Kenji Aoki to photograph the diverse Barbies for the front cover of the weekly publication.
The move, although welcomed by many, is a massive risk for Mattel, whose $1 billion sales depends largely on Barbie. Although the company hopes the new dolls will more closely reflect their diverse owners, their strategy can always backfire.
Since you can’t please everyone, adding three new body types is sure to infuriate at least some people. In addition to that, there is also some concern over the fact that clothes of the original Barbie won’t fit the new versions. Mattel is setting up a separate complaints line for issues pertaining to “Project Dawn.”
A tall-size Barbie would be amazing enough but LOOK at that undercut. pic.twitter.com/BZJgKllFA9— Blair Thornburgh (@ATallOrder) January 28, 2016
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