Answering my inquiry essay was very fun! I thought it turned out super well! Here it is
Is Barbie a good role model to younger kids and how has Barbie changed over the years?
Mattel is not just a toy company, it is the company of the most popular toy, the Barbie doll. Barbie has been one of my favorite toys since I got my first one when I was four years old. .
My main inquiry question is, “Is Barbie a good role model, and how has her image changed over the years?” Before starting my research, I felt a little that Barbie was not the best role model. Now I have research to back it up with, and I completely think Barbie is not a good role model.
Barbie was the first mass-produced doll with adult features in the United States. The doll made its debut at the New York City Toy Fair in 1959. Since then the doll has gone through many changes. In recent years, Mattel has tried to make more ethnically diverse Barbies with its role models collection, which is a very good change, they still got criticized because the change was very limited. For example, in 2016 they made a Frida Kahlo Barbie, but people complained she “barely had a unibrow” and besides her art, Frida Kahlo was known for her unibrow.
WANTING TO CHANGE
An example that Barbie is not a good role model is that she makes girls want to change the way they look, to look like her. In 1965, the Slumber Party Barbie came out, with some accessories including a weight scale permanently set to 110 pounds. Also they had a book called “ How To Lose Weight” including words saying “DON’T EAT!!!”
The reason kids want to look like Barbie is because she is so perfect! Barbie has blue eyes, blonde hair, and a skinny body. Who wouldn’t want to look like Barbie? But the desire to look as perfect as Barbie can have seriously negative effect. According to Danielle Shelov, a clinical psychologist I interviewed, the unrealistic expectations of the perfet Barbie and other images, like ads with skinny skinny models, have a terrible effect on young girls who starve themselves to look perfect. It is not surprising that trying to look like Barbie is unhealthy. If you put her sizes into human sizes, she would fit the weight criteria for anorexia. Anorexia is an eating disorder, caused by starvation. Mattel only made different Barbie sizes in 2016. Many people were complaining it was too late.
How has Barbie’s body image changed over the years? There have a been a lot of changes to Barbie.
When Barbie was introduced in 1959, her eyes were not looking straight, she had very fair skin, and her hair was tied back. At first people actually thought she looked too mature for kids.
In 1961 she had a new haircut, a “Bubble Cut,” her eyes still gazed to the side, her lips became lighter, and her eyebrows became softer. Her body didn’t really change at that time.
In 1967 Barbie’s hair became slick and straight, and her eyes became more round with rooted eyelashes. In the 1970s
Barbie’s hair got longer, and her mini skirts from the 1960s were replaced with long flowing maxi skirts. In 1971 Malibu Barbie was released. She had a smile with teeth. But by 1972 her smile with teeth was gone. In 1981 she got a curly bob.
It wasn’t until 1980 that Mattel introduced “Colored Francie.” That’s twenty one years after she was first introduced.
By 1998 her chest got smaller, her waist got bigger, and her toes were flattened.
In the 2000s she got a belly button and her hips started to widen.
Those are a ton of changes Barbie has gone through! Not to mention the big change that happened in 2016 when Mattel made different Barbie body sizes.
However, Barbie has not just changed physically; her career has also changed. Mattel made new types of Barbie in 2018 like the “Career Barbie” which included a beekeeper, a tennis player, and many more. Mattel also had a “Career of the Year” Barbie in 2018 which was a robotics engineer to increase the diversity of careers that they were being shown to young girls.
Mattel also made the “Fashionista’s Line” and “Role Models Line,” which included the first Muslim American athlete to compete with a hijab and a Frida Kahlo doll. Some of the dolls are dressed by some very famous fashion designers.
In conclusion, my goal was to tell you the answer to, “Is Barbie a good role model, and how has she changed over the years?” From the information I gathered, while Mattel has made ethnically diverse Barbies and Barbies with careers, she is still not a good role model because she advertises an unrealistic body image.