Mattel’s recent introduction of three new “styles” of Barbie has received lots of media attention. The dolls are now being made with a variety of skin tones, but most of the attention has focused — not surprisingly — on the new body types: curvy, petite, and tall.
A tiny, Barbie-sized step in a positive direction of representing greater diversity perhaps, but the dolls still represent a limited and unrealistic image for girls.
As the founder of a company dedicated to empowering girls in sports and life, I’m disappointed — but not at all surprised — that there’s not an athletic Barbie among these new offerings. In fact, the only one that comes close to being sports-oriented is wearing white platform sneakers and a football-style jersey dress with “Glam Team” above the number. She’s definitely not dressed to play sports.
Maybe soccer or basketball uniforms and sports shoes will someday be sold for these new Barbies, but even then I expect the stylized body size will continue to give girls an unrealistic image of a so-called “ideal body.”
Girls of all ages come in different shapes and sizes, and all of them can be athletes who enjoy the fun and lifelong lessons that sports participation conveys.