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Barbie Releases New Line Featuring Dolls With New Body Types And Disabilities

Mattel

Barbie has always been a trendsetter and Mattel, the company that makes Barbie, has released so many different dolls of all kinds of shapes and sizes.

Still, Barbie has received bad publicity for what critics say was an unrealistic image that young girls would try to live up to. They heard the criticism and over the recent years have made numerous changes to the iconic line of dolls.

In 1997, Share-A-Smile Becky was introduced as the first Barbie doll that used a wheelchair. She sold-out quickly, but customers were disappointed to find that her wheelchair didn't fit into Barbie's Dream House. Becky was discontinued after a short time.

In 2016, Mattel underwent a massive change in the appearance of Barbie, shrinking the bust, decreasing the emphasis on waist and making more curvy options of dolls. Now they're at it again.

The new dolls will have newly textured hair, new body type options and Barbies who have physical disabilities.

Studies have shown how important it is for children to see themselves in the toys they play with, but there aren't many toys for children with disabilities.

"We're going to be introducing a doll in a wheelchair and a doll representing physical disabilities. She has a prosthetic limb," said Kim Culmone, Mattel's VP of Barbie Design. She says that dolls with disabilities have been the most requested items through a customer hotline Mattel set up.

"It's important to us to listen to our customers."

In creating the new line of inclusive dolls, Mattel worked with real people with real disabilities, including 12-year-old Jordan Reeves who has a prosthetic arm. She recommended that Barbie's limb be removable and look realistic.

Mattel

"That was one of our first big ahas," Culmone told Teen Vogue, "That's not necessarily something we would have realized how important it would be to someone living with this experience."

The wheelchair will fit any of Barbie's Made To Move line of dolls, making it a great accessory for Barbie fans.

So far the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive.

What do you think about Barbie's latest change?

I've been writing for Shared for 6 years. Along with my cat Lydia, I search for interesting things to share with you! You can reach me at Tristan@shared.com.