Should Barbie be Idolized?


Haley wright, Staff Writer

With the film Barbie coming out in July, it got me thinking about the countless Barbie dolls I owned as a child. Most of the dolls I had were passed down from my mom and sister, and I loved playing with them, pretending to be someone else, and immersing myself in any world I created. Since many of the Barbie dolls I owned were older, most of them were white with blonde hair and blue eyes. I only ever had one dark-skinned Barbie and another with short, black hair and brown eyes. Growing up surrounded by blonde hair and blue eyes, I found myself lacking confidence with my brown hair and brown eyes.

The original Barbie was based on a German cartoon character in 1953 named Bild Lilli, who was a “gold digger” and marketed to men as gag gifts. Throughout the years, Barbie faced many controversies, such as the doll’s figure being unrealistic, being shown to be materialistic with expensive cars, houses, and clothing, and not being diverse, failing to include disabilities (physical disabilities were added in 2019), race (the first black and Hispanic dolls to be named Barbie came out in 1980), gender identities (the first transgender Barbie doll was created in 2022, modeled after Laverne Cox), and body types (introduced in 2015). As the years go on since its creation, Barbie continues to be more diverse, including multiple body types, disabilities, races, skin tones, and genders.

Even though Barbie dolls have become more diverse throughout the years, the original design of the slim figure with blonde hair and blue eyes is what is commonly thought of when one thinks of Barbie. Most of the Barbie films, ranging from 2001 to the present, have this Barbie design for the main character. The 2023 film Barbie has the main Barbie doll, Margot Robbie, appear with blonde hair and blue eyes, as well as Ken, played by Ryan Gosling, bearing the same appearance. However, it appears in the trailer that there are multiple Barbie and Ken dolls that are diverse and seem to have big roles in the film, which is exciting to see.

The original Barbie design has an unrealistic idea of beauty and can cause children to be self-conscious about their own appearances. I wish growing up I had a larger collection of diverse dolls to play with to show that beauty is not just long, blonde hair, blue eyes, an hourglass body, and long legs.