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Barbie boss defends doll’s unrealistic body

Barbie Dolls

Barbie Dolls on display to promote the Barbie Fashion Show in 2009. Image: AFP

Kim Culmone – the vice president of design at Mattel, the company that produces the doll – rejected complaints about Barbie’s proportions, insisting her rail-thin physique was chosen for purely practical reasons.

“Barbie’s body was never designed to be realistic,” she said. “She was designed for girls to easily dress and undress. And she’s had many bodies over the years, ones that are poseable, ones that are cut for princess cuts, ones that are more realistic.

“There’s also the issue of heritage. This is a 55-year-old brand where moms are handing clothes down to their daughters, and so keeping the integrity of that is really important.”

When asked by Fast Company if Mattel would ever release a Barbie that had more realistic proportions, Culmone was cagey, saying most girls had no problem with Barbie’s current body. “To me, there isn’t an objective to change the proportion of Barbie currently,” she said. “And to little girls, they are putting themselves in that doll anyway. “You have to remember that girls’ perceptions are so different than grown ups’ perceptions about what real is and what real isn’t, and what the influences are.”

When asked by Fast Company if Mattel would ever release a Barbie that had more realistic proportions, Culmone was cagey, saying most girls had no problem with Barbie’s current body.

“To me, there isn’t an objective to change the proportion of Barbie currently,” she said. “And to little girls, they are putting themselves in that doll anyway.

“You have to remember that girls’ perceptions are so different than grown ups’ perceptions about what real is and what real isn’t, and what the influences are.”

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