Oh, what it means in 2016 to be not only a woman of color but to be a woman of color that is also educated and shapely. Our little girls get to feel confident even at young ages and we have their toys to thank for that.
Growing up I played with dolls like any other kid and my favorite Barbie doll growing up was Teresa…because, well, she looked like me. It was like putting myself into a doll where I would then take my imagination to endless heights for hours. But I was a kid…not stupid. So I knew that while Teresa and I shared similar features like tan skin and darker hair–I also knew that my body didn’t look like hers. Granted, I was an 8 year-old and I was also chubby for my age, but as I observed people on a day-to-day basis and as the years went by I also knew that almost no ones’ body looked like your average Barbie doll from 1998.
Fast forward to 2016…Barbie has now released a line of dolls that fit the body norm, AKA: an array of different dolls that range from different skin colors to hair textures to heights and sizes. Super model, Ashley Graham just got her own Barbie and it looks pretty damn fabulous! How badly do I want to own this doll? REALLY BAD! How much do I wish I were a kid again to have this positivity in my day-to-day life? You don’t even know.
As we all have seen, heard and experienced, body confidence is a huge issue. The rise of social media has given today’s youth a perspective that really doesn’t help one’s mindset in the time of hormones and self discovery. It was already bad enough that people criticized others. Did we really need our toys to do it too?
While Barbie has always encouraged kids that they can be whatever they want to be, having a doll with no “thigh gap” is ground breaking. Can you imagine owning something that looks just like you, down to the height (or lack thereof for my short ones out there—they have short dolls too!)? I believe this will encourage conversation and respect amongst kids—one hopes. Or it could potentially give others a reason to mock but that’s neither here nor there so at the present moment we’re going to focus on the positives.
This shows young girls everywhere that they are good enough and that there will be no set body type that they have to worry about fitting. Their skin color and hair texture will be something respected and accepted, the way it always should’ve been. This is an incredibly important break in today’s world. For a country that prides itself on being a melting pot it’s important for everything in on everyday lives to reflect who we are. We are all different and that should be celebrated no matter our size and shape. Though I don’t have kids I now have one more reason to be excited for when that day comes. Parents from here on out may not have to explain why Barbie looks the way she does, because she looks like you and me. It is what it is—and it’s beautiful.