Barbie - The Obsession
Am I the only one noticing how Barbie is suddenly in the news a lot more these past few months than it used to be? First with black Barbie, then Louboutin Barbie, and now Burka Barbie. It seems the famous doll can't help to be more famous, but it's mainly because she's changing.
Christian Louboutin Barbie
Christian Louboutin's Barbie which has sold out on Net-a-porter.com had her ankles slimmed down in order to fit the shoes and make them seem more appealing. Interestingly, this hasn't caused as much abuse as you might think, perhaps because those who are into fashion and so would buy this Barbie, can appreciate that you need slim ankles to wear Louboutin, rather than protest about it.
Someone I knew presented me with this image of fat Barbie that her lecturer once showed to her, and needless to say it's quite disturbing. She's an interesting conception, and probably quite an accurate one, of the types of women there are today. I believe the purpose of it is to present the ideology of beauty, and how, once turned on it's head, is perceived as unhealthy, lonely and quite sad.
When Black Barbie was first introduced, she was just white Barbie painted black. Instead this new version has wider hips and bum, as well as more full lips and permed hair. Again, by changing the perception of Barbie it has become more successful. Perhaps it was just overdue for a change.
The Burka Barbie was intended to be a new role model for Muslims, who don't necessarily want their daughters looking at a tall blond bimbo wearing short shorts and a bikini top. A human Barbie would be about 7ft tall with an 18in waist, and her tiny feet would mean that she wouldn't be able to even stand. Interesting that they wish to cover this up, despite the fact that Muslim women are covered up so that men can't see them, not little girls.
So how does this affect Barbie as a business? Mattell Inc must have realised, after 50 years, that their image of beauty is not the same as what others find beautiful, or even fair. Changing the image of Barbie has occurred very slowly over the past fifty years, but suddenly new models are being made, and although some are jokes, others are for religion, it's an alteration to a new beauty. Perhaps being politically correct is the best way forward for dolls, but it's still something to be argued within the fashion industry.