If you haven't seen this all over yet, you will soon: Barbie has a new body.
Yep, following in the steps of Lammily, the "realistic" fashion doll:
... Mattel is introducing three new body types for Barbie: "Tall", "Petite", and "Curvy".
They're still keeping Barbie's original mutant body, too, though, about which Time had THIS fascinating factoid:
Um. Say WHAT?!
This is apparently old news, but it's the first I've heard of it - so off to Google I went.
I quickly found one of the original Bild Lillis, shown here in her see-through negligee:
Hey look, it's totally Barbie!
Seriously, can you imagine seeing that in Spencer's with the other "adult" gag gifts? It's laughable. I mean, other than the slightly transparent gown, she looks like any other child's doll today. Heck, she looks down right demure.
And yet, at the time, Lilli was considered a cartoonish extreme of female sexuality - something ridiculous to be passed around by drunk guys for a laugh. Today a doll would have to look like Jessica Rabbit to be considered even remotely as suggestive or inappropriate:
If that isn't proof of how much Barbie has molded our perceptions on the female form, then what is?
Now, to be fair, I couldn't find any source other than Time claiming the original Lilli character was a prostitute. She was based on this German comic strip:
... and most sources seem to agree she was just a sassy, gold-digging secretary who liked to take her clothes off. Her dolls were sold in smoke shops and other adult stores. And incredibly, a mother saw the dolls, thought Lilli was perfect for her little girls to play with, and Barbie was born.
The mind, it boggles.
Anyway, that brings me back to the Time article I was reading this morning. I'm ashamed to admit it, but seeing the new "curvy" Barbie next to her original mutant form gave me a knee-jerk, negative reaction:
And judging from 95% of the comments I was able to read before clicking away in disgust, most everyone else thinks she looks "fat," too. Fat. Her.
Ignore the original and look at Curvy Barbie again, though; she's actually thinner than Lammily, who is based on the measurements of an average 19-year-old woman:
Lammily is based on a size 12, so what would you guess Curvy Barbie's real-life size is? Size 8? Maybe 10? And that's what we see as "fat"?
Mattel hasn't released the measurements on their new body options, probably because it would remind us that in real life, original Barbie would have a 16 inch waist.
To put that waist in perspective, here's a real live woman with a 16 inch waist - which she was able to achieve by sleeping in a corset for 3 years:
This is Barbie's waist size.
Here's some more perspective: John just asked me to measure his bicep, and it's exactly 17 inches. So Barbie's waist is one inch smaller around than my husband's arm.
I bring this up because I'm still riding some Hulk Smash rage after reading the comments on Time's article. I'll spare you most of the horror, but here's a tame version of what many are saying:
That's right, this commenter - along with many others - thinks a waist size that's physically impossible to achieve without wearing a corset for 3 years is "an example to kids to stay healthy and trim."
Granted, internet commenters as a whole are troll spawn, but let's be honest: our whole society thinks this way, because we've been programmed into seeing a sexually cartoonish gag-gift as the healthy ideal. Even the 6-year-old girls playing with Curvy Barbie are calling her fat.
And you know what?
That's exactly why we need her.