Barbie steps out of the Dream House and into reality as Mattel releases a new line of dolls in various skin tones and body types.
Mattel’s decision is the latest addition to a trend among major companies producing body positive images and products for young girls and women. Diverse body and race representation is finally being implemented by major companies. This is easily seen by looking at how companies are choosing to include racially diverse models and models that look more like the majority of women.
- In 2010, the skin care brand Dove, owned by Unilever, re-branded its Campaign for Real Beauty to focus on boosting the self-esteem of women and young girls. Dove is often credited for being one of the first brands to show real women’s bodies on television in their ad campaigns.
- In 2014, American Eagle sub-brand Aerie launched the Aerie Real campaign which featured models of different sizes and skin colors in ad campaigns where zero retouching would be done on photographs. Eleven months after the campaign began, Aerie sales went up by 9 percent in its second-quarter earnings compared to a 2 percent decrease in sales at the same time the year before.
- In January of 2015, Target announced it would be launching a new fashion-forward line of clothing, Ava & Viv, specifically designed for “the plus-size woman who loves fashion and a good value”. Target CEO Brian Cornell said, “instead of walking away from this $17 billion category” the company embraced plus size women.
- In December of 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens broke box office records grossing $529 million over its opening weekend while having a woman and two people of color as three of the main leads.
- Earlier this year an infomercial for waist trainers, a modern version of a corset made popular through social media platforms like Instagram, was banned in Britain by the Advertising Standards Authority after officials deemed it “irresponsible”.
- Men’s brands are even getting in on this trend as Axe, a brand typically known for its hyper masculine reputation, pushed more of an inclusive attitude in its latest ad where it embraced different interpretations of modern masculinity.
All of these are just recent examples of how body and racial diversity are being represented more and more in today’s society. This is a huge turning point as a more realistic image of what the country looks like will hopefully reverse the negative effects that years of airbrushed, photoshopped models has caused. Society should definitely keep following this trend and look to Barbie in this time of representation revolution. The world’s most fashionable doll agrees- inclusivity is now in style.