Mattel has introduced three new Barbies in hopes of finally shushing the ever-louder protests that the iconic doll’s nutty measurements give girls lifelong body image problems.
A lot has been written about the new Barbies. The “curvy” one even made the cover of “Time” magazine, a spot usually reserved for the Pope, Putin or pop stars. There’s also a tall and short new Barbie but it’s the fat one that’s getting most of the publicity. She’s pretty with a full face, big butt and a thick midsection, Picture every woman ever cast as “supportive best friend” in a movie with a skinny, blonde lead actress.
She’s the one who hears you got dumped and is on your doorstep in under an hour toting spinach dip she made herself and it will even be in a bread bowl she hollowed out. What’s not to love?
The new tall and short Barbies aren’t nearly as different looking as the curvy one but they do share an admirable commitment to normal calves and smaller busts. Much smaller. Proportions are less porn star and more girls’ lacrosse, bless God. At the press conference introducing the three new shapes of Barbie, Mattel execs practically dropped their mics before leaving the room. All you hater millennial moms? We heard you. Done.
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I hate to be the poo in the punchbowl here but there’s one teensy little problem with all this fanfare about Barbie’s momentous makeover: They’re still selling the original.
While Mattel is acting like it had a burning bush-style conversion on the road to profitmaking, it’s not exactly sincere when you’re still mass-producing a doll with real-life measurements of 39-18-33, a size so top-heavy one researcher noted that “she’d have to walk on all fours.”
Mattel is committed to making Barbie more realistic to please the moms who have taken their money elsewhere, particularly in the past few years. But I haven’t read anywhere that they’re shutting down production on the doll they now call “Original Barbie.” No way Mattel is going to kill the goose that laid the golden egg even if the egg has been more gold-tone lately profit-wise.
So, let’s not get too braggy, Mattel execs. As long as there’s still a porn-star looking Barbie doll crawling on all fours to the door to greet her friend with that spinach dip, we’re not going to give you too much credit. But, yes, like a 100 Donald Trumps at the bottom of the ocean, it’s a start.
Meanwhile, the whole world awaits the unveiling of “Dadbod Ken.” It’s only fair that Barbie’s longtime beau should also get a more realistic overhaul for the new millennium. No more 12-pack abs, board shorts and chiseled jaw. “Dadbod Ken” will keep it real with a slightly receding hairline and a wardrobe dominated by billowy Polo style college logo shirts that almost but not quite conceal a pudgy midsection, the result of too many pitchers and chimichangas. What’s good for the goose…
Celia Rivenbark is the New York Times best-selling author of “Rude B****** Make Me Tired.” Visit www.celiarivenbark.com.