Barbie, the iconic doll we either love or hate—or love to hate—is finally getting more diverse. Better late than never, I guess.
The Barbie Fashionista line features 23 new dolls with eight different skin tones, 14 different facial structures, 22 hairstyles, 23 hair colors and 18 (!!!) eye colors.
Earlier criticism included the lack of natural hair among the black Fashionista dolls, but the @barbie Instagram account shows dolls with various hair textures, to the excitement of Barbie followers. "Time to start embracing black women's REAL hair textures!" reads a comment on Instagram.
This change is long overdue. It makes sense for little girls to "see" themselves in the dolls they play with. As a hapa growing up in the '90s, I never found a doll that fully represented me. I couldn't identify with the dolls with pale skin or the dolls with dark skin (two choices, if you had more than one), and I think creating dolls that reflect wide and varied ethnicities and cultures is a wonderful thing.
A likely more shocking bonus feature? Barbie's ankles are now movable, allowing her to wear flats. This is a big deal for perpetually high-heeled Barbie. Critics point out there is still work to be done—Barbie's legs are still so long that she has to buy disposable razors in bulk at Costco, for example. "Barbie can wear flats, but how about making her more proportional?" writes one Instagrammer.
It's taken 56 years for Barbie to diversify, we might have to wait a little longer for average-sized Barbie.