NEW YORK – Mattel launched three new versions of its iconic Barbie doll on Thursday (Jan. 28) — a curvy Barbie, a petite Barbie and a tall Barbie.
It is in response to both criticism of original Barbie’s impossible proportions and also that in face of Bratz dolls, Monster High dolls, Disney Princesses and other choices for young women, Mattel’s sales dropped 20 percent between 2012 to 2014 and continued to fall in 2015.
In TIME’s cover story about the new dolls, the author also cites the evolving ideal of beauty, with curvaceous women like Kim Kardashian West, Beyonce and Christina Hendricks being idolized by millennial women.
“The millennial mom is a small part of our consumer base,” says Evelyn Mazzocco, head of the Barbie brand, “but we recognize she’s the future.”
Mazzocco also concedes that “some people will say [Mattel is] late to the game,” but “changes at a huge corporation take time.”
Chief Operating Officer Richard Dickson also realizes that not everyone is going to love the new Barbie dolls. “Ultimately, haters are going to hate. We want to make sure the Barbie lovers love us more — and perhaps changing the people who are negative to neutral. That would be nice.”
Indeed, in just the few hours since the news broke about the new Barbie dolls, Twitter has become ablaze with both supporters and detractors, including actress Kirstie Alley.
In addition to the petite, tall and curvy Barbies, there are also new “original Barbie” designs, offering even more diversity. Mattel currently only selling the dolls on Barbie.com. Due to a seemingly endless number of combinations of hair texture, hair cut and color, body type and skin tone, the company must negotiate with retailers for extra shelf space to make room for the new dolls alongside the original ones.