In the name of diversity and inclusion, Mattel has announced big changes to its Barbie product line again this year that will now include three new body types for the iconic doll: curvy, tall, and petite.
"The company hopes that the new dolls, with their diverse body types, along with the new skin tones and hair textures introduced last year, will more closely reflect their young owners’ world," reports TIME magazine.
But the company's foray into the progressive world of political correctness has backfired in early tests of the dolls, as evidenced by a 6-year-old girl who, when picking up curvy Barbie for the first time (now with extra meat on her thighs, butt, and stomach), exclaimed in a girly voice:
Hello, I'm a fat person. Fat, fat, fat.
The adults in the testing room felt the same, though were more subdued in their choice of words: "This one's a little chubbier," one mom said. Other young girls, hoping to not hurt feelings, either spelled out "f-a-t" or used their hands to show an increase in girth.
Other problems have arisen in Barbie's new PC world that TIME describes as "logistical nightmares" for Mattel. First of all, there (literally) isn't enough room on retail shelves to hold all the new dolls and accessories. Also, they can't package curvy Barbie alone because they are worried about the message that might send to a little girl on the receiving end of such a gift. Mattel's solution is to package the new dolls in pairs -- which brings its own problem: Which dolls to sell together so that nobody gets offended? (Or more corporately as TIME puts it, "to optimize diversity and marketability.")
But wait, there's more! Just deciding on curvy, tall, and petite were tough enough for the toy company who needed to make sure the translations wouldn't be offensive to international buyers. Mattel also anticipates plenty of angry girls screaming at mom because her inventory of old Barbie clothes aren't fitting on the new dolls. And for that, they've opened up a separate help line -- A SEPARATE HELP LINE -- just to deal with those complaints.
For the short term, the "new body" Barbies will only be available at Mattel's online store until all of this can be figured out.
Meanwhile, Ken has packed up and escaped from Malibu before they have a chance to exchange his six-pack for a dad bod.