Barbie gets more ‘realistic’ figure with 3 new body types

Plus - a medical scientist from Nigeria shares her 'Hijarbie' on Instagram


After nearly half a century of staying pretty much the same, arguably the world’s most famous doll, Barbie, is getting a body make-over.


Makers Mattel have introduced 3 new figures and a whole range of new eye and skin colours and hairdos to boot.

The impossible blonde beauty has been a staple of many a child’s toy box for decades, but her makers say now it’s time she started “offering girls choices that are more reflective of the world they see today”.

Not only that, Barbie fans are taking the diva into their own hands and transforming her, like Haneefa Adam, who’s started a Hijarbie account on Instagram featuring Barbie in her own handmade hijabs.

What are Mattel up to?

Among the new Barbie range will be:

  • 4 body types – the classic Barbie look, plus petit, curvy and tall
  • 7 skin tones
  • 22 eye colours
  • 24 hairstyles.

And this is just the start. Mattel wants to bring dolls that feature “more empowering and imaginative roles” too. 

“We believe in girls and their limitless potential,” say Mattel on their website.

A number of charities have welcomed the diversity, and across the media world in general Barbie’s new look is BIG news. She’s even made the front cover of Time magazine this month.

And how about Hijarbie?

And Mattel aren’t the only ones responding to consumer desire for toys that reflect the real world a bit more accurately.

Nigerian medical scientist Haneefa Adam has taken Instagram by storm with her Hijarbie – a hijab-wearing Barbie.

“I thought I had not seen Barbie dressed in a hijab before so I decided to open an Instagram account and dressed Barbie up in the clothes that I made,” Haneefa told CNN.

“I thought it was really important for a doll to be dressed like how I would be.”

And it’s not just Barbie that’s seeing some dramatic changes.

Lego has announced plans to release a new disabled figure in June this year.


And so it seems some of the biggest toy makers across the world – as well as creative individuals like Haneefa – are getting on board with making toys that reflect the real world we live in.

There’s some way to go but we reckon it’s a pretty decent start.

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