jump to navigation

Mattel Expands the Barbie Line January 28, 2016

Posted by geoff in News.

Mattel tries to reverse declining Barbie sales by promoting a body-positive role model Barbie.


Call me cynical, but I’m betting they’re gone in two years.


1. Cathy - January 28, 2016

Definition: Body + Positive +

Add + On + Pounds.

Yeah! That’ll work!!

2. Jimbro - January 28, 2016

Thick girls need love too

3. geoff - January 28, 2016

*vows to never play with Jimbro’s Barbies*

4. lauraw - January 28, 2016

Both those dolls look fine to me. I won’t be buying one though, so, eh. It’s the opinion with dollars behind it that matters.

5. skinbad - January 28, 2016

Nothing wrong with a little junk.

6. geoff - January 28, 2016

True, true, but I’m betting that the original Barbie was shaped to little girls’ preferences, not an imposition of an impossible body type by the eeevil patriarchy. Now that they have a choice, it’ll be interesting to see if that’s true or not.

7. lauraw - January 28, 2016

You think they had little kid focus groups way back then? Naw, man. Kids will covet whatever they see. It could have gone either way.


8. geoff - January 28, 2016

Yeah but (from your link):

“Every little girl needed a doll through which to project herself into her dream of her future,” she said in a 1977 interview, as quoted in the obituary. “If she was going to do role playing of what she would be like when she was 16 or 17, it was a little stupid to play with a doll that had a flat chest. So I gave it beautiful breasts.”

Seems like she did some serious thinking about the dolls’ design, based on what she thought girls’ would want. I wouldn’t be surprised if she did some informal focus groups before she did the product release.

9. geoff - January 28, 2016

Now you made me look up the history of focus groups. Turns out they were popular with marketers in the 50’s.

10. geoff - January 28, 2016

But like I said – it may be that girls have been brainwashed by the lack of an anatomically realistic doll, but I kind of doubt it. If the sales of the new doll flourish, I’ll be proven wrong.

11. Retired Geezer - January 29, 2016

So… are anatomically realistic dolls for sale, anywhere?

Asking for a friend.

12. daveintexas - January 29, 2016

If they put a schlong on Barbie I’m done


Cathy - January 29, 2016

I was a kid when Barbie was launched. We didn’t think much about anatomically correct dolls. They were out there. I had one — probably a bit larger scale than Barbie, with a very pretty face, slightly smaller breasts, more hips and butt but not overweight. But when Barbie hit the market with all the pretty clothes, the stuff you could buy for her, the need to have the same size doll as your girlfriends with whom you played, made it kinda necessary to go with a Barbie.

My first Barbie had shorter hair — bouffant style — brunette. My choice. I got a Ken to add to my collection. My mom and I made the clothes, but those were a LOT of work.

The small hips on the original Barbie

13. Cathy - January 29, 2016

… The small hips made the clothes look good and much easier to slip on and off the doll.

14. Cathy - January 29, 2016

My daughter played with my Barbie dolls when she was a kid too. And we bought her her own Barbie dolls, etc. I might still have all that in a plastic bin in the attic.

15. geoff - January 29, 2016

So you’re saying that it was the accessories that drove Barbie’s popularity, rather than the actual doll itself. I could believe that – it will be interesting to see if accessories support sales of the new doll.

16. daveintexas - January 30, 2016

Oh dude, the shoes alone

Cathy - January 30, 2016

Hahahah! Yea, Geoff and Dave! I guess I’m saying that.

Honestly the ‘other’ doll that came out about the same time as Barbie was much prettier and I liked her better. But trying to play dolls with the neighborhood gals with my Amazon-woman who had less clothing choices and could not fit into or even try on the other Barbie clothing and accessories was kinda lame.

17. Cathy - January 30, 2016

Might be more about marketing…

Barbie had market penetration.

18. Cathy - January 30, 2016

I recall that the cost of the original Barbie was less than $5, maybe more like $3.

Clothing got more pricy.

I think Mattel made the business decision to keep the cost of the dolls low enough to get the dolls in the hands of the little girls. Then little gals would buy the accessories and clothing. The stuff was poor quality too. Stuff would rip easily and get dirty.

… and DAVE, yes, the shoes would get lost because they were all super high-heels that just slipped on (and fell off easily).

19. geoff - January 31, 2016

This article from Time shows the difference between women’s and men’s thinking on what constitutes the perfect male and female bodies. Not scientific: it’s just what a lingerie shop came up with based on an internet poll, but it’s kind of interesting nonetheless.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: