Barbie's new body types — petite, tall, and curvy — hit store shelves this week, representing a dramatic, body-positive overhaul for the classic doll.
"Girls everywhere now have infinitely more ways to play out their stories and spark their imaginations through Barbie," the company announced on its website, Barbie.com
It also kicked off a hashtag campaign, #TheDollEvolves, to promote the new lineup on social media.
Time magazine reported
that the new body types will be sold alongside the classic Barbie, and retail for $10 starting Thursday.
The overhaul addresses decades of criticism about the body image the classic Barbie promotes, and was prompted in-part by a double-digit drop in sales over several quarters.
"Barbie sales plummeted 20 percent from 2012 to 2014 and continued to fall last year," Time reported. "Meanwhile, American beauty ideals have evolved: the curvaceous bodies of Kim Kardashian West, Beyoncé, and Christina Hendricks have become iconic."
Executives at Mattel, the maker of Barbie, hope the revamp will bring customers back to the fold, and allow younger mothers more options when buying toys for their kids.
"The millennial mom is a small part of our consumer base, but we recognize she’s the future," said Evelyn Mazzocco, head of the Barbie brand.
"Our brand represents female empowerment," said Mattel president and COO Richard Dickson.
While many political groups have argued over the years that Barbie has set literally impossible beauty standards for young girls, Dickson noted that Barbie was also ahead of her time when it came to teaching young girls about professional achievement.
"It’s about choices. Barbie had careers at a time when women were restricted to being just housewives. Ironically, our critics are the very people who should embrace us," said Dickson.
While focus-grouping during the re-design, Mattel found that mothers these days are trying to avoid the body-image issue by opting for toys like My Little Pony. Adding curves to Barbie made them more likely to buy one for their kids.
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