Barbie Changes Her Shape


The classic Barbie doll was born in 1959, has always been 11 and 1/2 inches tall, and has had the same hour-glass shape for more than 60 years. But the times are a’ changing, and so is Barbie. Mattel has launched a new look for the iconic doll – Barbie now can be bought in different shapes such as tall, petite, and curvy body types. Barbie also can be found with seven different skin tones, 22 eye colors, and 24 different hairstyles, including blue and purple hair.

The changes come at a time when Barbie faces her relevancy to today’s girls. The evolution of her looks is part of mirroring the changes in American society. No longer is there a narrow viewpoint of what a beautiful girl looks like – beauty is different to different girls and the changes to Barbie are meant to reflect those varying viewpoints. The first dolls will make their debut at the New York Toy Fair and will cost $9.99 each.

Approximately nine out of 10 people worldwide know the Barbie brand, but sales have decreased 20% in the past few years, and there is increasing competition for dolls. Time for a make-over.

Barbie – we’re glad to see you embrace change!

Group Activities and Discussion Questions:

  1. Poll students: How many know of Barbie? How many have bought Barbie dolls? What do they see as one of the main problems with the doll?
  2. Show the video of the new Barbie:
  3. View the doll’s Web site:

  1. What are other toys that have fallen behind the times?
  2. Divide students into teams. Have each team choose an old toy or game, then revamp it for today’s youth.

Source: Time, New York Times, other news sources


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