New Asian Version of Barbie Unveiled with New Line
posted by Randall
New realistic line of Barbies released. Can you spot the Asian Barbie?
By Ed Diokno
Barbie, the iconic doll of young girls throughout the world, is getting a makeover.
Twenty-two makeovers, to be exact.
The Barbie that is unmistakenly Asian.
Launched Jan. 28, Barbie’s diverse sisters are being sold along side the much-loved, much criticized original blonde, busty, thin-waisted form on Barbie.com.
They will all be called Barbies – kinda creepy – but now they will be available in curvy, tall or petite versions. Their skin tone will come in a variety of shades, from dark brown to the original pale version, which was modeled after a German doll, which was inspired by a German comic book prostitute.
And, drum roll, please – ta-dah! – there will be an Asian Barbie. with long dark hair, almond-shaped eyes and her skin-tone is a darker shade than the Euro Barbie but lighter than the African Barbie.
We never encouraged our daughters to play with dolls when they were little although they expressed a preference for Ernie and Grover from Sesame Street. As young girls, they were more interested in basketball and boy bands.
Barbie is more than just a doll, wrote Time Magazine. The brand does $1 billion in sales across more than 150 countries annually, and 92% of American girls ages 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie, thanks in part to her affordable $10 price tag. She’s been the global symbol of a certain kind of American beauty for generations, with brand recognition that’s up there with Mickey Mouse.
The influence of Barbie on the psyche of young girls is hotly debated. One of the most compelling studies was a 2006 study that found that girls exposed to Barbie at a young age expressed greater concern with being thin, compared with those exposed to other dolls.
If there is any doubt about Barbie’s influence on young girls, watch the video below. One of the youngsters says, “This one looks like me and this one looks like my mom.”
America, Mattel notes, is changing and so is the country’s standards of beauty. Barbie needed to change, too, to reflect the Americans of the 21st century.
All the new Barbies will be more anatomically realistic than the original version. The revolutionary “Curvy” Barbie won’t be obese, but its proportions will be more reflective of reality than the skinnier versions which still look like they promote anorexia.The decision to offer choices to young children didn’t come about altruistically. The competition from other doll-lines grew stiffer, and resistance to the unrealistic image of the original Barbie from image-conscious mothers grew, sales flagged. When moms started voting with their dollars, Mattel had to reassess the criticisms at their product. In the mid-2000s Barbie faced her first serious competition after years of maintaining about 90% market share of the doll sector.
Competitors, including the Bratz dolls and Disney Princess line were eating away at Barbie’s dominance. As one Mattel vice president says, “Barbie was having an identity crisis.”
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