There is a very practical reason for Barbie’s world famous figure. By definition, Barbie is a fashion doll, created for little girls who were immensely interested in their mother’s wardrobe and messing with it day in and day out trying on outfits that wouldn’t suit them. Barbie’s creator Ruth Handler watched her little girl playing with paper dolls, swapping fashions on them, and thought about a three dimensional doll for the game. This was where Barbie came in. She became a 3D paper doll.
There are some issues with making clothes on a doll of 12 inches however. First of all, the fabrics are mostly a lot thicker than what they feel like on the human – after all, the fabrics are mostly the same as ours. Therefore Barbie had to be moulded to adapt to the thickness of the fabrics, not to mention the seams bulking up especially on the waist. When you look at a clothed Barbie doll, she doesn’t seem that disproportional, does she? She looks feminine; like a model, yes, there’s no question about that. However, after only a couple of layers of clothing, she starts looking a bit to the chubby side. Let’s be brutally honest though, would you buy a fat doll? I sure wouldn’t. Why would I even, Barbie is a play thing, an object of dreams, she’s not supposed to be realistic picture of the world, but something that can make the dreams come true – even if only in the play world.
On contrary to the common belief though, Barbie does come in various shapes and sizes. There’s a version that is even skinnier than the normal Barbie, but isn’t as busty or wide hipped. Barbie’s best friend Midge has also appeared in quite a large body, as if she just had a baby.
Why is Mattel required to produce dolls nobody wants?
I must wonder what logic requires a company to produce an item that will stay standing on the store shelves waiting for non-existing buyers while being praised by moralists. To my honest opinion, Mattel has made the mistake of listening to the moralists too much for their own good. Of course you have to please the parents somewhat, but let me ask this: Is a parent who is disgusted enough to require Barbie’s mouth to be closed because she sees that being pervert likely to buy Barbie after she smiles sophisticatedly? My guess would be no. A parent like that will take that as a victory and move on to the next subject: Her eyes are too big, her hair is too thick, she’s too blonde or she’s too shallow.
Now imagine the…