Rethinking Barbie

By: Brooklym Kempf

Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie – Review – TV and City

Have you ever wondered why Barbie used to be only one size, have a perfect body, the perfect hair, and the perfect image that portrayed to women that that’s what they should look like? I did too. I wondered why it took so long for the company to change their ways and evolve in creating more body types and more socially acceptable dolls.

The Barbie doll was first created on March 9th, 1959. She was made to portray the perfect girl. There was motivation to give children a doll that wasn’t just a baby doll and was more of a woman-like figure to have a sense of growing up. Throughout this documentary that shows a systematic shift and Matell’s design of the Barbie doll.  The Los Angeles Times wrote, “We have a very complicated relationship with our own femininity, and it’s not just us individually,” said the film’s writer and director, Andrea Nevins. “Society still has a very complicated and unsolved idea of what women should be today. That’s captured in this doll. She carries a lot on her tiny shoulders. I think we all do.” 

This documentary about Barbie and her evolution was one of the better documentaries I’ve ever seen, this definitely fulfilled my expectations of what I thought it would be. The documentary handled ideas head on by showing the flaws of the Barbie brand and showed what needed to be changed and the equality that needed to be reflected in society and in the barbie doll. It made me appreciate the Barbie brand and the producers by being so open about this topic even if it will do harm to their company. It gave me an idea that this documentary was progressiveness and it also showed how if people stick up, change will occur even if it might make some people uncomfortable. Nevins got the idea to make the film after a friend who worked at Mattel kept telling her, “How excited she was to go to work everyday because she was with a bunch of really strong, interesting women, debating who Barbie should be for the next generation,” said Nevins. 

One piece of information that I wish they would have had it into this documentary was the after effects of changing Barbie. I would like to know more of how sales increase, possibly or even decrease. Also how people of the United States latched on to the Fair idea of a body positive and ethnically diverse Barbie. 

This is a documentary would be for any sort of person interested in the idea of evolution in Big Time companies, and specifically the evolution of women and bodies. This documentary is available to watch on Hulu and Apple tv Plus. I would 100% recommend it.

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