JCU students believe the new Barbie dolls will help little girls embrace themselves

By Valentina Calindri

Students at the John Cabot University are enthusiastic about the new Barbie collection released in January by Mattel. They think it is a great idea and a step forward in the direction of accepting new models for women.

“I think it’s a brilliant idea,” said Antonia Basile, an Italian student of Art History.

Laura Di Gironlamo, a Chilean and Political Science student, said the collection is a step towards in accepting diversity and it will help more girls feel good about their look.

Mattel, the multinational toy company producing Barbie, released three new body types of the world wide famous doll, tall, petite and curvy. They are the conclusion of a Barbie remake started in 2015 with new skin tones and hair textures for the dolls. The secret project, called “Project Dawn,” began two years ago, it came as consequence of people complaining Barbie was out of touch and not in line with what is going on in the world today, said Barbie general manager Evelyn Mazzocco. They hope the new collection will make Barbie more relevant.

And it seems they have succeeded so far. ”It will challenge women’s stereotypes and show a new idea of beauty,” said Fabiana Fuschi, a Political Science student. “It is an important change because women are physically different so this new collection reflects more the current society.”

Jessica Jasso, an American and International Business student, who was raised into a Hispanic family, said it was difficult growing up looking at her skinny Barbie dolls and the way women were portrayed on television. “I am a petite person and I used to think being a beautiful woman meant having a certain height, weight or a certain hair color,” Jasso said.

When they were young some students would have loved the possibility of buying a Barbie that looked more like them. “If I were still young I would buy one that looked like me,” said Di Girolamo.

Emanuele Cellini, an Italian and Communication student, said, “It is a positive thing that children can learn and accept diversity of all types when they are still young.”

Ludovica Pizzichelli, an Italian American International Affairs student, said, “What I really like about the new dolls is the cultural diversity,” because while growing up she didn’t like seeing only white Barbie dolls.

On the other hand, Federica Barazzutti, a Communication and Italian student, said, “They are just toys, what really shapes children’s views of the world is what surrounds them.”

“I am afraid it might become just making money out of allegedly good intentions,” said meanwhile Oleksandra Vereschak, a Ukrainian Economics and Finance student.

Clelia Clini, a professor in the Communications department, agrees. She is not sure the collection has anything to do with progress and the role of women within society, rather it may be connected to profit. “I don’t think it’s because they want to show that women are different, I am more concerned with the fact that they want to appeal to a broader spectrum of women,” she said. Besides, some stereotypes are still there, “They are still very beautiful and fashionable,” she added.

Marketing move or not, the toy’s industry seems to moving in the right direction. “I do think it shows a cultural shifty so that’s interesting,” Pizzichelli said.

“I feel like there will be more confidence among little girls,” said Jasso. “I hope in the future they will be less focus on trying to be something else and embracing who you actually are,” she said.

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