By Lauren Wise, a journalism student at Highbury College
Most little girls had one favourite toy when they were younger. Mine was Barbie.
I was obsessed with them.
There was a huge collection usually spread across my bedroom floor, and I would act out lots of scenarios. When I look back it was hilarious.
Barbie has been a part of children’s lives for decades.
But as she turns 60, the creators, Mattel, are facing a backlash.
There are complaints that her hourglass figure she is an unattainable symbol of perfection – which is a bad influence on young girls.
But it seems Mattel has listened.
As part of the brand’s 60th anniversary and in conjunction with International Women’s Day, a new Barbie was unveiled under the title, Shero.
Aimed at celebrating 20 different role models across the world, it includes figures such as supermodel Adwoa Aboah, sports journalist Melodie Robinson and cycling champion Kristina Vogel. Previous collections of Shero dolls have included boxing champion Nicola Adams and aviation pioneer Amelia Earheart.
The move has been met with both praise and criticism. Some say that the attention to detail on some could be better, such as muscular definition on sporting figures who may not have the slim, slender bodies that Mattel moulds Barbies into. Another argument is that Mattel is making money from ‘commercialised feminism’.
However, I think it is a great decision to offer children the chance to play with dolls that represent a professional figure rather than just a pretty doll takes her handbag puppy for a walk everyday.
Children get the chance to be inspired by different occupations such as a writer, director, scientist or a chef.
I praise Mattel for this decision – I do not see it as cashing in. Sheros can help inspire a new generation of girls to dream big.
Lauren Wise is a journalism student at Highbury College.