Re-designed Barbie doll no longer a object of perfection


Carly Yamrus, Opinion Editor

America’s blonde bombshell is making news again after Pennsylvania artist Nickolay Lamm gave Barbie a little more than a new coat of nail paint.
The distinguished Barbie doll has been criticized for decades over her unrealistic body proportions that sent all the wrong messages to young girls.
Barbie is not a teenage girl; not that was she was ever pretending to be.
The features of this newly redesigned “Average Barbie” gives the doll a much more accurate representation of a teenage girl.
When pictured together, the new Barbie doll is indeed “average looking.” She is shorter and wider all around, including her neck, shoulders, mid section and legs.
She looks normal, but she doesn’t look like Barbie. She’s plastic, but I wouldn’t say fantastic.
Since 1959, Mattel’s Barbie doll has become an iconic symbol for not only women’s fashion, but also feminine expression.
Despite her “unpopular” perfect appearance, the Mattel message of independence and following one’s career dreams through Mattel’s  “I can be … ” campaign is anything but unrealistic.
I suppose the messages are a tad bit conflicting- “you can be anything you want but you better look good doing it” doesn’t seem appropriate for a generation of image-obsessed young girls.
As a young girl, I do not remember being influenced by Barbie’s appearance in the slightest, but it may have been unconscious.
I suppose you could say that I was “in line” with societal “norm” for a girl that age — taking a liking to makeup, clothes, and hair accessories like it was nobody’s business.
If this doll has as much influence as the experts say, then count me in as pro-average Barbie. I’m obviously biased toward the standard Barbie, but that is only because I grew up with her.
But for this new generation, I don’t think they will be any more or less upset with the change since they don’t know any better. I vote to still keep the original Barbie for collectors, as she has been considered a classic symbol for decades.
According to a poll on, when asked which Barbie moms would buy if both were on the shelf, 83 percent voted for average Barbie and 17 percent for Mattel’s Barbie.
Despite the “realistic” changes to the doll, the new and improved Barbie is not liked by all. Some comments on the site target her and just another image of how we’re “supposed” to look.
Some are tired of Barbie being under scrutiny, as she has been for years now.
Others say that Barbie is supposed to be flawless, not normal. The term “Barbie” has become interchangeable with this concept of fake perfection since the doll’s creation.
It would be interesting to see if young girls would still opt for the regular Barbie over the average one.
Either way, I hope to see these new Barbie dolls in stores sooner than later. In combination with Mattel’s “I can be … ” message, Barbie could really be influential in the development of young girls’ self-esteem.