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The New Barbie Awakens

By Ada Castro
On February 12, 2016

Photo by Rodney Latham

OTTAWA--Criticism to Barbie’s body has been an ongoing fight for the last 10 years. Despite Mattel including new hairstyles, skin colors and fashion trends, Barbie is still criticized for misrepresenting the "average woman." Although now, some people are pleased they finally have their Barbie.  

Evelyn Mazzocosenior vice president and global general manager of Barbie, released several company statements explaining the reasons for the sudden change. She claimed that Barbie has more responsibility than what is commonly thought 

“We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty,” Mazzocco said.

The 33 new dolls will be in stores by March 1 of this year. They now offer three different body types: tall, petite and curvy, along with 16 new hairstyles and skin colors.  

In Barbie’s attempt to terminate criticism from the media, they overlooked the negative effects that underline Barbie’s new image. Time Magazine published two controversially opposed articles with the titles “Don’t Make Barbie’s Body Crisis Ours” and “Ken Speaks: I will always love Barbie, No Matter Her Size.”  

The audience’s reaction to both articles showed that people are more passionate about the influence of the doll than we could have  imagined. Cyber fights grew over the last week because of those who are concerned for the little ones. People on Instagram and Facebook argued two main points.  

The first one, that “fat Barbie” is not showing girls that they are special, but rather that being overweighed is fine. Their main claim is that obesity is not what the next generation should shoot for -- not because of looks, but because of health concerns.  

The second argument is that overweight children are mainly the parents’ fault. Therefore, the child should not pay the consequences of their actions. They claimed that curvier girls deserve to have a Barbie too.  

Ottawa University students also seemed to have an opinion on Barbie’s new physique. Elisa Valenzuela, junior and softball player at OU, is all for the comeback of the original Barbie.  

“When I grew up, I was taught that Barbie was a kind of perfection that didn’t exist. But at the same time I wanted to be as pretty as she was, and that motivated me to work out and learn how to do great makeup,” Valenzuela said.  

On the other hand, sophomore Makenna Roa thinks the complete opposite. She believes that all girls deserve a change to feel special and included.  

“I don’t understand why people are complaining about this so much. Barbie is finally more than an artificial body. … We should be happy that our complaints have been heard,” Roa said.  

Nutritionist-Dietician Aili Castro, a graduate of the University of Los Andes in Venezuela and who is currently obtaining her Master’s Degree in the University of Chile’s Nutrition and Food Technology Institute, also expressed her thoughts about the new physique of the famous doll.  

“I am extremely grateful that they broaden the skin color, height and contexture spectrums as well as the ethnic aspects of the dolls. As a Latina, I think it is great that the company is emphasizing different body types. However, I oppose a Barbie that represents health concerns and encourages girls and parents to unhealthy habits,” Castro said. “The one that impressed me the most was the Barbie on the cover of Time Magazine. It was clear that her abdominal circumference was not proportional to the rest of her body.”

Castro believes that if Barbie is trying to represent that “different” to the doll’s body, then they should also create a fitness doll. Many teenage female athletes represent the United States in worldwide competitions and are yet to have a doll with whom they identify.   

“We are all beautiful if it comes down to this, but we have to remind ourselves that Barbie is concerned with physique, not with health,” Castro said.  

Either skinny or curvy, new Barbie has definitely awakened our deepest childhood opinions. Show us what you think on Facebook or Twitter with the hashtag #NewBarbieOU.

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