The new Barbie: why she sucks and is actually teaching our kiddos the WRONG thing


Dear Mattel,

Okay so the other day we were at Toys R Us looking around when I stumbled upon the Barbie section and I did a double take. What’s this? Did you finally give Barbie’s body a makeover? And then I looked a little closer and realized nope, not really. The regular Barbie is still all over the place, but so are three new ones: Petite Barbie, Tall Barbie and Curvy Barbie. I kept looking for a Barbie that represented my type– Saggy Boobs with a FUPA Barbie– but alas, not yet.


Anyways, at first I was like damn, that’s awesome that Barbie is finally looking a little more “human,” but then I was like, wait a sec, no. Because there is something that’s still bugging me about this. Actually, three things.

1. Why doesn’t Original Barbie have a “body-type” label like the others? I think I know why. Because WTF would you call her? Corset Barbie, Anorexic Barbie, Nonexistent Barbie, Thigh-Gap Barbie???

2. Who decided it would be a good idea to label one of the new Barbies “Curvy?” I mean, sure she’s got curves but so did the original Barbie. And so does the tall Barbie. And even the petite Barbie has some curves. Because they are WOMEN!!!

And 3. Why the hell did you have to label the new Barbies with body types at all?? Couldn’t you just shove the Barbies into their boxes without labels and let the kiddos pick whichever one they want? Like maybe Astronaut Barbie would be a little curvier, and Teacher Barbie might be a little smaller, and Lawyer Barbie might be a little taller. And then the kiddos and adults could base their Barbie choice on shit that actually matters, like their career and not their body shape?

The bottom line, it’s time to stop labeling women’s bodies and start focusing on the shit that matters. Their brains, their careers, their personalities, their awesomeness that has nothing to do with the package they come in. Because women come in all shapes and sizes. But most of us hope that’s not the first thing people notice. And when you slap a giant label on the box that says “curvy” or “petite” or “tall,” guess what people are noticing first. The wrong thing.


A mom with a daughter whose box would be labeled “smart,” “creative” and “awesome” and would have nothing to do with the size or shape of her body

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There are 44 comments for this article
  1. Rene at 10:33 am

    Agreed!! To be completely honest, I am so d**n happy that my daughter has outgrown her fascination with Barbies!! Also, that they don’t seem to have affected the way she sees herself in any way…of course we talk ALL the d**n time about how important it is to be healthy. Healthy=eating a good diet (lots of different things), exercising (for her that is cheerleading, PE, and gymnastics), and being happy with who you see in the mirror because you ARE a GOOD person on the inside!!

  2. Sharona at 10:34 am

    Honestly? I think they only did it to sell more. Your curvy Barbie won’t be able to fit in petite Barbie’s clothes…so you have to purchase separate clothes for each. In addition, they won’t be able to fit in standard Barbie clothes. It’s just more merch. But I also agree, they should not have labeled them by body type. I get that they need to refer to them as something so you can buy the correct sized clothing, but a first name would have been sufficient.

  3. Laurie Young at 10:39 am

    I played with Barbies my entire childhood and not one time do I remember noticing her body size. I picked a new Barbie by her hair and clothes, not the size on the tag. As an adult, I do not have negative body issues from playing with my “thin” Barbies because I knew they were just pretty dolls. I mean, shouldn’t they make new Barbies that aren’t “pretty” since real people don’t all look like supermodels? Personally, I don’t think so. Kids just like pretty things. I think Mattel needs to stop listening to parents and ask little girls and little boys what they want their Barbie doll to look like.

  4. Beth Eady at 10:41 am

    unfortunately, i think a lot of the labeling is driven by further marketing…because now they can market a wardrobe for curvy barbie, short barbie, tall barbie, etc. because, we all know, your kids will only ever choose ONE size of doll (said no one, ever). Now you get to have 18 sets of f-ing barbie clothes. Yaaaaaaaaaay……..

    I think all my kid’s barbies are just going to be nudests.

  5. Kathy at 10:43 am

    Why are we leaving any teachable moments to Barbie or anything else? That is why we are parents. It’s a toy like anything else and if we find something wrong with it we have a discussion about it with our child or we don’t purchase it. I had Barbies as a child and I never thought anything of it was wrong until an adult inserted their personal beliefs. My feeling, anyway. take it or leave it.

  6. Kay at 11:00 am

    “Why the hell did you have to label the new Barbies with body types at all?? Couldn’t you just shove the Barbies into their boxes without labels and let the kiddos pick whichever one they want?”
    A-M-E-N! This is so pathetic an attempt on Mattel’s part. There are so many different types of curvy and colors of skin an heights and weights. I want to see them drop the labels and sell DOLLS and just let kids or their mothers pick the ones they think best reflects them!

  7. melissajanisin at 11:24 am

    Not to mention – I keep waiting for the NOT QUITE SO EFFING BEAUTIFUL Barbie. Average-looking Barbie. Barbie with a bad haircut. Barbie whose outfit looks kind of stupid today. Etc.

  8. Crystal Hamaker at 11:31 am

    I’ve dealt with body image my WHOLE life and NOT because of Barbie! But because my older sister was a little heavier than other girls, I listened to one of our parents continuously harping at her about her weight. I was anorexic for many years! Now I am the mother of a PERFECT sized daughter! Who, the doctor says is over the weight guidelines for her height…I just smiled at her and said “where shall we eat?” She just turned 13, and plays soccer and runs 5 Ks and is the most loving person I have ever known, AND I DO NOT WANT HER TO START THINKING THERE IS SOMETHING WRONG WITH HER!!! I DO NOT WANT my daughter to deal with what I do!! I’ll be 49 on Monday and I STILL FREAK if my pants get a little snug! NOOO I WILL NOT LET BARBIE’S LABELS MAKE MY DAUGHTER BELIEVE SHE IS ANYTHING OTHER THAN GLORIOUS!

  9. Norma at 11:31 am

    No, ma’am! The biggest mistake Mattel made was to try to please the adults that insisted that Barbie look “real”. Barbie is a doll, an imaginary character! Everything catered to women is labelel – from curvy jeans to skinny margaritas.

  10. Cammy at 12:36 pm

    D**n, people just can’t be pleased with anything. Always have to find a fault with things. Isn’t it great that at least barbie is starting to look a little more normal? This post is more of a reason to bash on a product than it is to look at the positive that can come out of it.

    I honestly don’t get why labeling is such a big deal. Curvy is actually pretty kind way to put it and who doesn’t comprehend the meaning of the term. I hear the women at my work call themselves curvy all the time. Some of these women aren’t even all that big. I think I rather have a ‘curvy’ barbie than a ‘fat a*s’ barbie or ‘on the brink of diabetes’ barbie. which of course i’m not saying that she is, but you see now curvy doesn’t seem so bad, does it. Do you go to the department store and get mad because there’s a petite section, a plus size section…oh sorry, women’s section? no. It’s just terminology to get the point across.

    • Cammy at 12:44 pm

      Oh and btw I didn’t mean labeling people, I meant labeling plastic dolls. You said they should be labeling them like smart and awesome. You do know they have career barbies that are like doctors, vets, etc. barbies, right?

  11. JulieD at 1:13 pm

    I’ll accept the Barbie labels when I see a few new varieties of Ken out there, like: “Compensating Ken” (the standard model with no p***s, comes with a large Corvette); “Comb-over Ken” (comes complete with paunch and certificate for lifetime membership to Hair Club for Men); or getting away from alliteration… “Man-b**b Ken” (comes with Seinfeldian “bro” and a year’s supply of testosterone injections). Let me see some realistic looks for the Kenster, Mattel, then perhaps we’ll talk.

    • JulieD at 1:17 pm

      Did this seriously just asterisk out the correct term for male genitalia that I wrote in my comment, as if it’s a dirty word?!?!? And also b**b, a word for the female breast that can also mean a STUPID person, is also considered dirty? What the heck? Oh, excuse me, what the h**k?!?! Can. Not. Believe. It.

  12. PirateJenny at 2:02 pm

    AHEM, Mattel, where is Curvy Ken? And Vertically Challenged Ken? Oh and why not throw in Metrosexual Ken (comes with two pairs of skinny jeans!) and Lumbersexual Ken (with a little belly, a beard, and overalls)? Because that would be TOTALLY RIDICULOUS and so are these lables for the Barbie dolls. Seriously Mattel, I realize you’re trying to help here, but why not just give all the dolls more realistic proportions and call it a day? Like others have said above, Barbies’ appeal is all about the clothes and hair and accessories anyway, not the body shape.

  13. Tessa Martin at 2:13 pm

    Neither of my girls liked barbie. We brought one for 16 when I was pregnant with 13. It was pregnant barbie whose belly came off and inside the belly was a tiny baby. WTF the pregnant belly came off? Now I’ve had 2 babies. One was delivered naturally (and we very nearly lost her as the cord was around her neck and she was blue..they resuscitated her right there next to me) and one who was born by c-section (who again we nearly lost as when she was born she was 11lbs 8oz and her blood glucose was 0.1 she then had to spend 3 days in NICU until I got pissed off and told them I was taking her home and they’d have to get a court order to stop me) we stopped at 2. But in neither birth was my stomach sliced off to find baby happily curled up in my sliced of stomach. Now if they had done lipo and a tummy tuck that would have been great but no I left the hospital with my pregnancy belly deflated. I am so glad my girls hated Barbie!

    • Noel at 11:00 am

      Jeez give it a break, having a baby is a part of life and children don’t think of it as sexual. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that. It kinda cute actually when they all want to play a game of family. Like ok if you don’t get a c section then no it does come out your stomach but whatcha want? Them to make it come out the Barbie a v****a? I don’t think so, you can save that lesson for later. For now, let’s just let out children be innocent. Kay? Jeeeez

  14. Peanuts & Thread at 3:11 pm

    I understand your point, but I do think just as they are putting the wrong focus on labels like that, bloggers too are the ones that initiated this in the first place by writing articles about how bad the regular Barbie is for a girl’s self esteem in the first place. They are just toys. No need for so much negative focus just for ratings sake. Just how you can’t change the world for your child, all you can do is help him/her stay positive in the way he/she perceives it. If you as a parent teaches her right, she’ll be able to play with any toy in the world and not let it affect her way we should perceive the world positively. Otherwise she can have the ideal everything you just talked about and she can still see the negative in it.

  15. Sandy Sandmeyer at 3:27 pm

    Bravo! For heaven’s sake, please stop labeling body types. If we’re fat, we don’t need your label to tell us. Our girls don’t need to start labeling body types when they’re playing with dolls. Just stop already!

  16. Hols at 4:49 pm

    I think the bodies are meant to pretend they care about the harm Barbie (who was based on a German s*x doll by the way) does to young children who buy into being Barbie rather than just seeing them as dolls. In actuality, I think it’s a way to sell more clothes because now you’ll have to buy clothes to fit these new body types.

    • Noel at 11:05 am

      Who bits into that!? You need to talk to ur kid if they want to have a waist band like a doll, not buy them a doll that’s curvy cuz they curvy. God they’re children.

  17. Heather at 8:08 pm

    I think my biggest issue with the “new” barbies is that they really aren’t any different than the old ones. I purchased the “curvy” one and she fit into a normal barbie dress. The only difference is that her thighs are a little thicker. Oh and “petite” barbie is the same height as “curvy” barbie, but her torso is sliiiiiightly smaller than normal barbie. I don’t know about the “tall” ones, because my local stores don’t have them yet, but I assume that they aren’t a whole lot different from the standard.

    Mattel basically said, “How can we make it look like we care without actually putting in any effort?”

    BTW they’re not selling clothes that actually fit the dolls until like next year and even then it’ll only be pants and skirts for “curvy” and like tops for “petite”.

  18. SelfishGene at 10:17 pm

    Body shape matters more than career or awesomeness (whatever that is). One billion years of evolution based on sexual reproduction says so, and it won against all competition so far.
    Maybe we will manage to decouple human consciousness from biological body someday. But till then “Dumb shallow s*x appealing Barbie” wins against “Golden heart PhD no waist Barbie” any day of the week.

  19. Shelbi DeSomma at 3:49 pm

    I understand your frustration completely on this,but I agree with what some of the Mom’s said,thinking back to when I played with Barbie’s,it was only about her clothes really,and my Mom actually started making some of the Barbie outfits for me and my sis,which we thought was so cool,she did a great job at it,with leftover material and fabrics she had,they were so cute.I am not crafty like my mom so I could never pull that off,but when my girls where little the Bratz dolls were huge,so they didn’t always want a ton of Barbies thankfully,it’s so expensive .

  20. Someone that had a Barbie and never affected me. at 9:39 pm

    You people need a life.

    It’s just a doll, if your child tries to imitate the body figure of her, then you as a parent have just failed your own child.

    Not a doll that can’t even talk.

    Want something worrisome? Bratz.

    Hey, at least Barbie has a wide variety of jobs.

  21. Brandon Lee (@BrandonHappened) at 6:53 pm

    Christ, it’s a g*****n toy
    It was alright until you put women on some pedestal that they’re not on
    Action Man is just Action Man, there isn’t “fat action man” or “mechanic action man” but I’m not gonna flail my bingo wings around just because “men are AMAZING, we shoudn’t notice their bodies first” well guess what, OBVIOUSLY someone’s physical appearance is what we see first because WHEN WE FIRST SEE SOMETHING WE NOTICE WHAT IT LOOKS LIKE
    Grow. The. F**k. Up. Oh man.

  22. Noel at 10:44 am

    OMG stop no kid f**king cares like when I played with barbies I was never like oh my god I’m so insecure my Barbie is skinnier than me!? No dip it’s a doll, it better as he’ll be skinnier than you and secondly I think it’s just easier for the company to have one size then ur girlies can buy tons of cute clothes(that’s what they care about) and u don’t have to worry about a d**n thing. All you feminists and analysts are the ones messing it all up. Gosh I wish I was born back when things like this weren’t even a thing.

  23. Noel at 10:48 am

    OMG no kid f*****g cares like when I played with Barbie I was never like I’m so insecure my Barbie is skinnier than me!? Well no dip it’s a doll it better as hell be smaller than you! And another thing is that I think they are all one size so your girlies can buy all the cute clothes they want(cuz that’s what they really care about)and you don’t have to worry bout a d**n thing! God I hate this generation

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