Barbie’s design boss defends doll’s proportions

The vice president of design for Mattel’s Barbie division said her measurements were more about clothing than realism.

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Barbie’s body was never designed to be realistic. She was designed for girls to easily dress and undress. And she’s had many bodies over the years, ones that are poseable, ones that are cut for princess cuts, ones that are more realistic.

Writer Mark Wilson followed up, asking, “So to get the clean lines of fashion at Barbie’s scale, you have to use totally unrealistic proportions?” “You do!” Culmone answered. “Because if you’re going to take a fabric that’s made for us, and turn a seam for a cuff or on the body, her body has to be able to accommodate how the clothes will fit her.” Culmone went even further to suggest that Barbie has nothing to do with contributing to a negative body image in young girls. Instead, she blames “peers, moms, parents, it’s their social circles.” Fast Company cites a 2006 study from University of Sussex that concludes that thin dolls do, in fact contribute to increased risk of eating disorders and weight cycling.

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