Barbie Toys

Inside the biggest change in barbie’s 57-year history–and what it says about American beauty ideals

Part 1Barbie’s dress won’t fit.

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Photograph by Kenji Aoki for

I’m sitting in a bright pink room at Mattel’s headquarters in El Segundo, Calif., playing with a Barbie that only đôi mươi people in the world know exists. Her creation has been kept so secret that the designers code-named the endeavor Project Dawn so that even their spouses wouldn’t be tipped off to lớn her existence.

Like every girl who has ever played with the most popular toy in history, I yank her clothes off và try lớn put on a new dress. It’s a xanh summery frock, cinched tightly at the waist with a đen ribbon. I try lớn tug it over her head, but the waistline gets stuck at her shoulders, her blond mane peeking out from the neckline. “Try going feet first,” the lead designer suggests, & I do. No good. Her plump bottom gets stuck in the same spot. Yes, plump. Barbie’s got a new body. Three new bodies, actually: petite, tall and curvy, in Mattel’s exhaustively debated lexicon, và beginning Jan. 28 they will be sold alongside the original busty, thin-waisted khung on They’ll all be called Barbie, but it’s the curvy one—with meat on her thighs and a protruding tummy & behind—that marks the most startling change lớn the most infamous body toàn thân in the world.