Monday 23 January 2017

A quick redesign at the Barbie factory will do little to solve the problem of self-esteem

Liz Kearney

Published 30/01/2016 | 02:30

'Modern Barbie may have moved on from the beach-blonde Californian fantasy girl, but only ever so slightly. Ultimately, she’s still a fantasy.'
'Modern Barbie may have moved on from the beach-blonde Californian fantasy girl, but only ever so slightly. Ultimately, she’s still a fantasy.'

'Yes, but which Barbie is the hottest?' He was half-joking, but the colleague who took one look at Mattel's three new-look dolls - the tall one, the petite one and the curvy one - was simply asking the question that the iconic American toy has always demanded we ask of her.

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With her coiffed, swishy hair, her huge, beseeching eyes, her minuscule waist and sassy posture, Barbie's job has always been to provoke desire; the desire of little girls to grow up to be gorgeous, the adult desire to have a happy, smiling life, men's desire that women will always look so perfect.

Even the assorted 'career' Barbies managed to make clothes and make-up the main event: 'paediatrician Barbie' wore an indecently short miniskirt revealing a thigh gap so large you could have driven the 45A through it, while 'Unicef Ambassador Barbie' sported a Princess Diana-sized ballgown and hair to match.

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