Doll Diversity

Barbie and American Girl are beginning or continuing to diversify dolls for young girls.

Zoe Slagel, Columnist

We all can remember the classic dolls of some of our childhoods, whether it be Barbie or any other company. But the thin hips, pale to lightly tanned skin, and everything else that makes a girl’s body fit European standards for “perfect” don’t help girls feel better about themselves.

Now, I don’t know about you, but when I was young, these dolls were something that I liked to play with, but I didn’t feel confident in my body because of them. I wasn’t what I would consider “pretty” or more what the doll companies at the time were showing as “pretty” with the dolls they came out with. The average american girl from ages three to 11 own dolls from companies like Barbie, says Mirror Mirror, a website that writes about body positivity. With that in mind, another study done by Mirror Mirror showed that young girls who played with Barbie dolls reported lower self-esteem and a greater desire to be thinner than the girls who played with a curvier doll or no doll at all.

That’s the Barbie company of the past. Now, Barbie has come out with a new array of doll variations for girls in petite, tall and curvy. These new dolls allow for girls of different body types to possibly feel more comfortable in their body. If these dolls had been around when I was younger, I probably wouldn’t feel as insecure as I can be sometimes. These can help the new generations feel more confident in their body as they grow up. Girl’s self-esteem peaks when they are about the age of nine. The toys that they play with may be the difference between a high or low opinion of themselves. The new dolls will be “a better reflection of what girls see in the world around them” explained Barbie spokesperson, Michelle Chidoni.

Not only Barbie is changing it up. American Girl has now released their third African-American doll. Melody Ellisen is from Detroit during the Civil Rights era. It is a good idea, but I still feel that they could’ve done better with her. Melody’s story is optimistic but doesn’t tell the whole truth. It fails to mention the Great Migration and the racial tensions of the era. I can understand that they would want to make it readable for younger audiences but it’s not fair to others. As written by the Civil Rights website, children should be exposed to diversity and parents should talk it over with them. Children should know their history, even if it is painful to see what our ancestors have left in their wake.

Now parents can help their child for the future by introducing them into a world where they can be happy with how they look and not have to worry about their body. These new dolls could be the next step to make our home a better place for the future generations.