"Barbie has always given girls choices - from her 180 careers, to inspirational roles, to her countless fashions and accessories," said Evelyn Mazzocco, senior vice president and global general manager of Barbie, in a statement. "We are excited to literally be changing the face of the brand. These new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them - the variety in body type, skin tones and style allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them."
Time reports that 92 per cent of girls aged 3 to 12 have owned a Barbie, but that sales dropped 20 per cent from 2012 to 2014. Evelyn Mazzocco, a mother of three girls, was brought in as head of the Barbie brand in 2014 and immediately set to work looking at the doll's image issues. "I wanted to remind myself every time I came to work about the reality of what is going on with the brand," she told Time. Barbie will wear less make-up going forward, and now boasts articulated ankles so that she can wear both flats and heels.
Of course a testing process was required to expose the dolls to the most important audience of all - children. "The adult leaves the room and they undress the curvy Barbie and snicker a little bit," said Tania Missad, who runs the research team for Mattel's girls portfolio. "For me, it's these moments where it just really sets in how important it is we do this. Over time I would love it if a girl wouldn't snicker and just think of it as another beautiful doll."