The Barbie fashion doll has undergone so many transformations in her 50+ years. It's easy to change Barbie's career, add a new friend to her clique, redecorate her 3 story dreamhouse, add-on her camper, and dress her in new styles that reflect a modern day trend.
The Fashionistas Dolls now include tall, petite, and curvy Barbies. Many also have fun hair colors, like blue. These Barbies are aiming to be different than classic Barbie dolls and appeal more to modern day doll lovers.
Here is a little history about the the celebrity fashion model Barbie doll. The first Barbie doll made a debut in the toy aisles in 1959.
Barbie could be purchased from toy store shelves years before Martin Luther King Jr. gave his infamous "I Have a Dream Speech." The world was a totally different place when Barbie's career launched.
Barbie is a celebrity. She has brought tons of fame and revenue to Mattel. For awhile, like many real celebrities do, sometimes even despite good guidance from their team, they lose their way. Whether it was following money, trends or a belief in what was right, the over riding motto has always felt like to me, "If it's not broken, don't fix it." So for decades, until now, Barbie has not really changed.
So how do you give a fashion icon a makeover that the public will accept and risk taking a chance on losing real money?
Over time, even though Mattel added a few different skin tones, and a couple of guys, many of Barbie's transformations, especially in the most recent decade have been frivolous, unrealistic, overly girly, and boring.
Barbie's unrealistic career paths have featured her as a tablet toting "Entrepreneur" in high heels and a "super sparkly princess superhero."
Just like all celebrities who lose their way, many make a come back. Times change. People see the error of their ways. They make adjustments. They take a leap of faith.
Sometimes you just do not have anywhere to go but up.
After 57 years, in 2016, Barbie finally underwent a real makeover. Some "plastic surgery" of an epic proportion, but in the opposite direction.
The Barbie Fashionista line allows kids choices. There is the option to choose a skin tone, eye color and hair style for their Barbie doll. They may also choose between the traditional doll body type, or from 3 additional types that include tall, curvy, and petite. Many new Barbie dolls have cool hair colors and fun accessories.
It is also now possible to now buy a Barbie doll with a curvy figure AND blue hair. While many were at first skeptical about the choices, many people love them. Who knew blue-haired Barbie dolls would be their alter ego?
In several years, this could be a success or a failure. But people are talking, and sometimes even joking about Barbie and Ken. Many are frustrated that there are more accessories to buy and store now that there are 3 body types. Others are joking and wondering if a new Ken doll at some point in the future will have love handles? People are asking for more culturally diverse Barbies with different ethnic backgrounds so their children can identify with a doll who is more like them.
In the end we can still continue to criticize Barbie's careers, hair color and body style. What can no longer be criticized is that Mattel finally took a risk with Barbie, using this household toy as a way for kids to play with dolls that are realistic, relatable and that can teach all children something about diversity.