Barbie has gone through many different style changes throughout the decades, but the latest rollout by manufacturing company Mattel could be its most significant — and undoubtedly its most welcome. Announced on Thursday in TIME Magazine, Mattel unveiled a new set of Barbies featuring different body shapes and skin tones in an effort to inject some realism and diversity in the iconic doll.
The dolls will come in "petite," "tall," and "curvy," as well as in seven skin tones that depict different races and ethnicities. According to TIME, Mattel hopes that its new Barbies will "more closely reflect their young owners' world."
The company has previously come under fire for Barbie's wholly unrealistic body proportions and its failure to produce dolls that look like the children that play them. Taking the advice to heart — as well as the plummeting sales — Mattel is making efforts to create more diverse, empowering dolls.
"We are excited to literally be changing the face of the brand — these new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them — the variety in body type, skin tones and style allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them," Evelyn Mazzocco, senior vice president and global general manager of Barbie, told A Plus in an email.
According to the TIME report, the creation of the new set of Barbies was done cautiously, with both design and logistical issues in mind.
"We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty," Mazzocco added.
The response to the new line of dolls was enthusiastic, at least online. Many lauded Mattel for finally heeding calls for Barbie to look more realistic.
The new Barbies will be available online beginning Jan. 28, but their official debut will be in February at the New York Toy Fair.
The original Barbie, Mattel's bestseller, will be sold as usual.