Barbie is no longer only pale, tall and slender. Earlier this year, nearly 57 years after she was first introduced to little girls around the world, Barbie now comes in three new body shapes: petite, tall and curvy! The new lineup also includes a wider variety of skin tones and hair texture. Is this Mattel’s way of tackling body image with diversity?

In a recent interview with the Business Radio Station (BFM) on Barbie’s big makeover, Dr Sharon Bong, Associate Professor of Gender Studies at Monash University Malaysia stated that Barbie dolls alone should not be blamed for portraying a certain body image to girls. According to Dr Bong, there are so many other images and messages that come in great measures as to what an ideal body shape should be for women and girls.

When asked if these new Barbies will encourage a healthier self-perception among children, Dr Bong replied: “I share that hope. There’s greater diversity in the Barbie dolls now and they reflect healthier body proportions.”.

To listen to Dr Bong's podcast session with BFM, click here.