When I was growing up, it was hard to separate me from my passe of Barbie dolls. And while I loved playing with them, I couldn't relate to them--not a single doll looked like me. They all had sharp features, pale skin, blue eyes, blonde hair and an impossible hour-glass figure. That was my first introduction to what society believed was 'ideal beauty', and it has taken me years of learning and unlearning to understand that beauty comes in all colours, shapes and sizes.
Thankfully, kids growing up today will no longer have the same problem. In a welcome and much-needed move, Mattel, the company that manufactures Barbie, recently launched a new collection of 'diverse' dolls.
Of the new dolls, which will be rolled out throughout 2020, one of them is shown to have vitiligo, a condition where some skin cells stop producing melanin, causing the skin to be patchy. Another is shown to be bald, denoting a condition called alopecia, which results in massive hair loss. These Barbies have brown skin, oriental features, prosthetic limbs and come in diverse body shapes. To be precise, they will come in five body types, 22 skin tones, 76 hairstyles, 94 hair colours, and 13 eye colours--talk about diverse!
And if you're thinking, "why should girls have all the fun?" then worry not--because Barbie's boyfriend--the iconic Ken doll--will also come in four body types, 18 sculpts, 13 skin tones, 9 eye colours and 22 hair colours.
Is it weird for a 28-year-old to be excited about the new Barbie? Probably. Do I care? Absolutely not. Brb, pre-ordering a bunch of dolls for my nieces and nephews--at least they can grow up with dolls that look like them.