Mattel plans to release a new range of Barbie dolls, which will include three body shapes, seven skin tones and 24 hairstyles.
In an attempt to appeal to a changing demographic, Mattel has updated the infamous Barbie doll to reflect the diversity of the target audience and appeals to socially conscious parents.
"We were seeing that millennials are driven by social justice and attracted to brands with purpose and values, and they didn’t see Barbie in this category," Tania Missad, director of global brand insights at Mattel, told The Telegraph.
“The millennial mom is a small part of our consumer base, but we recognize she’s the future,” Evelyn Mazzocco, head of the Barbie brand, told Time.
Until now, there have been few changes in the appearance of the iconic doll since its release in 1959. This new range will consist of 33 different dolls with a variety of different skin tones, hairstyles and body types, with the introduction of the “curvy” Barbie.
“This is about drawing a wider demographic that had turned away from Barbie back to Barbie,” Jim Silver, the editor of TTPM, a toy review website told The New York Times.
The shift in appearance was seen as necessary. From 2012 to 2014, Barbie sales decreased 20 percent. According to Time, several studies indicate that Barbie has some influence on the developing body image of young girls.
“Right now when you say ‘Barbie’ to someone, a very clear image of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, slim doll comes to mind,” said Kim Culmone, vice-president of Barbie design, reports The Telegraph. “In a few years, this will no longer be the case.”
Despite the perceived need to change the famous doll, reactions to the news have been mixed.
“I'm glad I was raised in the 50s when a doll was an object, not a role model, & boys could call me a cootie without going to the principal,” said Kirstie Alley on Twitter.
“This is a nice gesture, but I think the 'curvy' Barbie is going to end up on clearance,” wrote Dana Weiss on Twitter.
According to Time, many girls who have seen the new range prefer the dolls that look like them in terms of hair and skin color.