Welcome to 2016, Barbie.
The Mattel toy company has unveiled a new lineup of Barbies, which includes three different body types: petite, tall, and curvy. Each is an actual Barbie — so, not just a friend — and is also available in different skin and hair-color combinations. Many even have a flatfooted option, for those women who don’t wear heels every waking moment.
Last fall, Barbie’s “Imagine the Possibilities” campaign, which featured ads with little girls in professional roles, paved the way for this long-time-coming plastic mold shift. The new Barbies were unveiled Thursday in Glamour.
In the magazine, head of communications for Barbie, Michelle Chidoni, said, “Barbie was never designed to replicate the female body. She was a vehicle for play.”
Still, the doll’s classic impossible-body proportions debate lasted for a very long time. So, what sparked the shift now? Mattel’s own research apparently found that millennial moms had a negative impression of the doll, explaining Barbie’s four-year-long sales slump.
The process of relaunching the doll was still a secret one, featuring high-profile collaborators like American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland, and documentarian Rory Kennedy, who produced a video about the making of the new dolls.
“Will they change the world?” Kennedy asked herself. “No. But it’s relevant for little girls to see a doll that looks like them.”