Barbie Finally Kicks Off Her Heels
Nothing says feminism like being able to choose which shoes to walk in. After nearly 60 years of having a strained ballerina look, Barbie has finally slipped off her pumps and relaxed her soles. On June 4th, Mattel, Inc. announced that the iconic doll would no longer have permanently tiptoed feet, but instead have an ankle that actual moves, broadening Barbie’s already righteous shoe game to include a variety of flat shoes.
This is a step in the right direction for a brand that at times has been pretty regressive. The company has been criticized in the past for things like promoting an unhealthy body image, creating culturally appropriative and misogynistic stereotypes about women, such as the "I Can Be a Computer Engineer" Barbie, who was so close to being progressive, and failed. It took until 1980 for there to be a black Barbie released and another ten years for her to be employed as a firefighter. However, Barbie hasn’t been all bad. She’s held an endless amount of careers from fashionista to veterinarian, which are all listed on her LinkedIn profile. Plus, Barbie has now been represented in many different races.
Still though, it makes you wonder why it’s taken so long to make these changes. While Barbie maintains an unattainable size 0, dolls like Lammily, a toy with realistic arm, leg, and waist proportions, as well as the ability to add stretch marks or freckles, hit the market last year. Toys Like Me, a campaign group started by parents of children with disabilities, has begun developing dolls with birthmarks, crutches and hearing aids to better represent their children. With the demand for inclusivity growing so rapidly, It feels a little strange that Barbie is still lagging so far behind. Hopefully now that she can take her heels off, she can catch up with the other dolls out there.
Photo from Moschino’s SS15 line