Barbie redesigned to include more body types and skin tones


The iconic Barbie doll is now available in several different body types, including a more full-figured version for the first time.

The 2016 Barbie Fashionista collection

Produced by the American toy maker Mattel, the 2016 line of Barbies comes in four body types: original, tall, petite, and curvy.

New Barbie redesign, including curvy and and diverse models

The "curvy" doll is meant to reflect a more realistic idea body image for young people.

New Barbie redesign, including curvy and and diverse models

The company's new campaign slogan is: "Imagination comes in all shapes and sizes. That's why the world of Barbie is evolving."

New Barbie redesign, including curvy and and diverse models

The brand has long faced criticism that its stick-thin female dolls promoted unhealthy body ideals, especially for girls. Barbie's male companion, Ken, has an athletic body.

In addition to the three new body types, the 2016 Barbie Fashionista line includes seven skin tones, 22 eye colours, 24 hairstyles and "countless on-trend fashions and accessories".


"We are excited to literally be changing the face of the brand – these new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them – the variety in body type, skin tones and style allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them," said Mattel senior vice president Evelyn Mazzocco.

New Barbie redesign, including curvy and and diverse models

Hairstyles include mohawks, afros, braids, curly and straight bobs, and some with unusual hair colours like blue and purple.

New Barbie redesign, including curvy and and diverse models

"With added diversity and more variety in styles, fashions, shoes, and accessories, girls everywhere will have infinitely more ways to spark their imagination and play out their stories," the brand added.

New Barbie redesign, including curvy and and diverse models

Mattel also owns iconic toy brands American Girl, Hot Wheels and Fisher-Price, among others.

New Barbie redesign, including curvy and and diverse models

Barbie has received a number of makeovers since she debuted in 1959. In the past few years, fashion designer Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons created a new look for the doll and Roksanda Ilincic produced a Brutalist dystopian "dream house" for her.

  • Jenga Cat

    Can’t wait for the dad-bod Ken Doll!

  • Concerned Citizen

    The PC police are killing off everything capable of identifying anything.

  • Justine

    Mattel should have been pioneering a variety of body images alongside the second wave of Feminism. The company waited things out until the pressure couldn’t be ignored instead.

    They shouldn’t be applauded for this. It is too little too late.

  • L

    It feels as though the company has been forced into this move rather than making a bold and progressive statement. It is a step in the right direction though.

  • James

    Barbie is finally moving with the times! The selection of Barbies should be vast and include religious garments such as the hijab too if they want to be truly representative of a modern society.

    Barbie could do amazing things for a youngster’s understanding of the world around them. They need to stop being so narrowly designed.

  • Cecilia Stoeckicht

    In 2014 the Lammily doll came to life and almost two years later Mattel decided to catch up. In my opinion, they still missed the target.

    It is not enough to change the height, colour skin, or body shape, but as Lammily did, send a positive message that average is beautiful.

  • Marie

    What about Ken? Ugly Ken.

  • This is a fantastic idea. Not only do Mattel produce various raced dolls they now produce dolls with different heights and body shapes. I’m glad that this promotes aesthetic diversity.

    However, I believe that young girls don’t really look at a doll and say, “I want to be really skinny like her” or “hey I want to look exactly like Barbie”. I believe that this is more of a thing for mothers and fathers out there that are concerned that the dolls are promoting bad body image.

    When I was young I never looked at my hundred or so Barbie dolls and used them as my inspiration or role model in regards to body image. If a harmless doll can be sending such bad messages to little girls then what do you think the promoting of Nerf guns do to boys? Doesn’t it promote warfare and violence? Similarly, a boy’s action figures could be said to promote bad messages.

    The muscled-up superheroes promote bad body image for boys, saying that all men are tall, muscly, and handsome and a hero. I’m not sure if anyone would agree with what I’m saying. But all I’m trying to say is that these dolls are great in promoting diversity, but I believe that the girls won’t look at these new dolls any differently than they did with the “skinny” dolls.

    • aaron

      You might have never felt that way about Barbie because you might have had the “right” body type. I understand that’s an assumption, but I only suggest it as a possibility, and not an outright fact.

      What you’re saying about nerf guns and action figures is absolutely true. Boys are influenced by the idea that they are supposed to be big tough men. And often if they don’t fit the stereotype physically, they try to make up for it with personality.

      There’s a lot of things wrong with how toy companies market to children, and even if you believe it didn’t affect you it has affected many others, often negatively.

  • Mokouteh To

    Barbie’s new body shapes: petite, tall and curvy. KEN, who has loved Barbie since he was born in 1961. Obsessiveness on Ken’s part.

  • Frogg

    They lie to you and me! I wait and look for you.

  • TheHoundsWife

    Wonderful to see petite getting some recognition!

  • Clara Bell

    I’ve seen plenty of news articles about these dolls but the Barbies I’m seeing at the store still look the same. When are they gonna be put on store shelves?