Barbie has a new friend and she’s changing the body image game.
Mattel, the company behind the mega-popular doll franchise, unveiled the newest addition to their collection at Glamour’s Women of the Year awards on Nov. 14. The doll is a one-of-a-kind item, modelled after popular plus-size model, Ashley Graham.
Graham, who is best known as a model for Canadian plus-size clothing giant Addition-Elle, requested that the doll be made with her thighs touching.
“It was important that the Barbie resembled me as much as possible,” Graham said in a statement. “The thighs touching was one way to show young girls that it’s OK for your thighs to touch, despite society saying that a ‘thigh gap’ is more beautiful.”
Graham has become a well-known advocate for female empowerment and self-acceptance, encouraging women everywhere to love their bodies, regardless of size.
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit model posted about the doll following the Glamour awards on Instagram, saying: “Thighs touching, round hips, arms and tummy!! Thank you @Mattel and @Barbie for immortalizing me into plastic! #beautybeyondsize.”
Barbie has long been under fire for creating an unrealistic body image for young girls to aspire to. The real-life measurements for the doll’s figure make it so that, if she was human, she would be unable to breathe, stand, walk or sit properly.
According to an analysis shown by the Daily Mail, Barbie’s original body would mean that, if she were a living person, she would be unable to hold her own head up, unable to lift anything with her wrists, and would have to walk on all fours in order to get around due to the proportions. She would also only have enough room in her abdomen to hold half a liver and a portion of her intestines.
Barbie would also stand at five feet, nine inches tall, and weigh only 110–135 pounds, underweight for her height.
Previously, Barbie has been credited with being a “terrible” role model by the Girl Scouts of America, and has been branded a poor choice of toy for young girls by many.
This, however, all changed in January 2016, when Mattel made the long awaited decision to redesign Barbie and her friends.
The redesigned collection includes seven new skin tones, an array of different hair colours and several different body types to choose from, including curvy, petite and tall.
The design changes made to Barbie in the past year are the first dramatic changes to the doll’s body and style in 57 years, but are they enough to help promote positive body image?