Wednesday, March 02, 2016

Barbie's Back

We've all seen the new Barbies on TV, right? And I've written about my Barbie thoughts as well. But yesterday, I saw them in the store.

I was a little bit excited, to say the least.

I mean, there were only a few in each of the new body styles: a petite, curly haired African American doll, a tall brunet that looked slightly Asian and not one but two curvy dolls: a green-eyed white girl with blue & black hair and a blonde that looked more like the stereotypical Barbie but curvy.

How could I resist?

My daughter was with me as we were running errands and she had allowance burning a hole in her pocket, which is what brought us to the doll aisle. We picked our dolls (I got the blue-haired curvy, she picked the tall) and played with them in the car on the way home. "What are you going to name her, mom?" she asked. I wasn't sure and I was considering names. She lifted the sunglasses to look at her face and said "her eyes are green like yours! Her name is Mari!"

The first thing I noticed was the hard plastic legs that don't bend. This made my $10 doll feel like a $1 knock-off Barbie from the five-and-dime we used to get as little kids. The faces appeared a bit fuller. The feet are a bit flatter so they're not only going to accommodate ultra high heels, but that also means that these new dolls can't really wear most of the shoes made for the classic Barbies.

Speaking of fit... what about the clothes? As we perused the aisle, I didn't see any clothing labeled curvy, petite or tall; it was all just Barbie clothes. I did see a few more expensive sets with dolls that appeared to have bending legs (but really, put that on the package. You can't really tell until you rip it open).

I wanted to see how my new curvy doll handled the Barbie fashion we had on hand. The pants... no go. Not even Ken's uber-hipster skinny jeans—seriously, didn't Ken have thicker thighs at one point?—wouldn't go past her knees. But dresses mostly worked. Some skirts. All the tops.

Girl, I feel your pain.

I put all 3 dolls in the same dress to do a comparison: curvy, standard and tall. The curvy doll is wider all around, with proper curves (but not bigger boobs—sorry, girl). The regular Barbie has the smallest waist and biggest thigh gap, and the tall doll is long-waisted.

These ladies are struggling with some real life figure and fit issues, is what I'm trying to say.

Who wore it best?

It was discouraging to try on the pants and none of them fit. I mean, when you can't bend your legs, it would be nice to wear pants so you aren't flashing Ken all your girly bits as you try to sit down, right?

But when I slipped her into the evening gown? Well, she was rather radiant.

Some of the dresses were far too tight. I was going to do a fit test with the bathing suit my daughter has in her clothes pile, but it's a pink leopard print monokini that looks like it came with a Barbie-sized stripper pole (not the kind for exercise) so I chose against that option. But many of the dresses did fit. I'll be curious to see how the clothing issue gets sorted out.

Until then, they'll be chilling and celebrating their new diversity.

I didn't think it was a big deal or necessary... but I've got to say that seeing a doll with measurements closer to the ones I rock is rather empowering, even for this old lady. Who knew?

Way to go, Barbie.

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