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Barbie's VP of Design Defends The Doll's Unrealistic Proportions

Tom Maybrier

Mattel's iconic Barbie has long been a talking point when discussing issues regarding representation of women in the media, child psychology and the responsibility of brands to be cognizant of their influence on body image.

In this interview, VP of design Kim Culmone defends Barbie's famously unrealistic measurements as a function of necessity. She also argues that children's play is inherently unrealistic and that little girls aren't comparing their own bodies to those of Barbie's.

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  • Alessandra Rizzotti

    This is the most annoying statement about why Barbie doesn't "need" to change the doll to have more realistic proportions: "It would depend on the objective. So to me, there isn’t an objective to change the proportion of Barbie currently. And to little girls, they are putting themselves in that doll anyway. You have to remember that girls’ perceptions are so different than grown ups’ perceptions about what real is and what real isn’t, and what the influences are." I think girls are smart enough to understand something about body image. I definitely used to destroy my Barbies because I couldn't be like them. (I was a child model though..and there was an emphasis on weight when I was a kid)- totally a different story- but-- I think this notion that kids "don't get it" is not true.

    • Tom Maybrier

      I have to agree with you. I certainly don't envy anyone trying to defend their brand while having to answer this type of critique but her tone seemed to imply that this was "much ado about nothing" and I just don't think that's true.