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Friday, September 22, 2023


Focus Friday: New Barbie designs



For this week’s Focus Friday, we discuss the new petite, tall and curvy Barbie designs announced this week.

1. What do you think of the new designs?

Opinion editor Anthony Torres: I think it’s great to include different body types to adhere to a more realistic female body image. Barbie has been getting a lot of flack lately because its single body type is not realistic to what women actually look like,. This is definitely a good thing.

Cooglife editor Karis Johnson: I think the new Barbie designs reflect our culture’s growing attempt to be more relatable to people — or in this instance — girls everywhere, no matter their skin, hair or body shape. The way they have shifted the image of the “perfect” woman with a tiny waist and perfect curves is ridiculous, and while adults know this, children often don’t.

Opinion Columnist Sam Pichowsky: The designs are somewhat a step in the right direction. The attempt to broaden the body type of the dolls may give a lot of girls a lot more confidence about themselves. If they increase the confidence of at least one girl, then I think that’s an accomplishment.

2. Do you think this is just a public relations move or actually a step in the right direction?

AT: It does seem more to be a PR move and a response to the outcries for the unrealistic body image. They could have done this a long time ago, really. It’s great that they’re including other body types, but it’s a bit too late for this to have any real impact. The whole point of changing the body types is to make children playing with the dolls feel more comfortable with looking different, so  doing this in 2016 seems too little, too late.

KJ: I think this is definitely a PR move by Mattel, but I don’t think that’s a bad thing. If the company is going to work to make its reputation more marketable, then I’d rather that image be one that is representative of the realistic female body. Barbies are just toys, but the way they look can directly impact how children view their own bodies. So what if Mattel’s new Barbie dolls are PR? At least they’re sending a better message.

SP:  I do not think it really matters whether this is a PR move or not. It seems to be progress.  I think the significance of these designs really depend on the response from the children who play with these. They are the ones who will decide if this was the right move.

-The Cougar opinion desk

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