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Since her first appearance in 1959, the media and public have heavily criticized the Barbie doll. Besides Barbie’s body and fashion choices, her Universe, career choices, movies, and even boyfriend have been criticized.
The fact that, despite it all, Barbie’s popularity kept growing through the years and made it into one of the most famous toys of all time shows a massive divide in how the majority of children and almost all adults perceive the Barbie doll.
While Barbie dolls have never been described as ‘nice’ by her manufacturers, she comes off as a nice doll when analyzing her character. She is also always portrayed as nice in any movies or TV shows that she appears in.
Although no one truly knows how nice Barbie is it is a pretty safe bet to say that she is a nice person in the Barbie Universe based on her persona.
Let’s take a look at the Barbie character and actions in the Barbie Universe. To see the most popular Barbies just click here.
Barbie’s Personality In The Barbie Universe
In the Barbie Universe, Barbie is a small-town girl. She comes from the fictional town of Willows in Wisconsin, USA, and she still has that ‘girl next door’ vibe about her despite having traveled the world.
She and her family lived in Willows for a long time but moved to their Dreamhouse in Malibu, California, in 2018. The Barbie family Dreamhouse is a three-story mansion with a pool, slide, and elevator.
Besides an amazing home, Barbie has everything else she could ever want too. She has over one billion outfits (ok all Barbies combined over many decades do but still), several luxury cars, many pets, and ‘the best, most thoughtful boyfriend a girl could ask for!’ in her own words, who lives right next door to her.
Moreover, she has also achieved over 200 of her professional goals.
But despite having it all, Barbie has a down-to-earth personality. She is an extrovert and loves to have people around her.
She comes from a big family of five sisters and one brother, and although she can afford to live alone anywhere in the world, she still lives with her family.
She is on great terms with both her parents and all her siblings. She loves and cares for all of their house pets too.
She is kind to everyone and loves to plan parties and adventures for everyone around her. She invites all her friends to these parties and adventures too.
In the Barbie Universe, Barbie is loved by everyone, and rightly so! She is great at whatever she chooses and has made a huge impact on Barbie Universe with her various professions.
She is friends with everyone, people and animals alike. Even when she and her long-time boyfriend Ken parted ways for a few years in between, the two were still friends.
However, Barbie’s personality comes off very differently in the real world. Let’s take a look at it:
Barbie’s Personality In The Real World
Even the happy-go-lucky Barbie cannot escape the problems of the real world. As soon as she stepped from her perfect, plastic Barbie Universe into the real world, she had to face a lot of criticism, and her niceness was questioned. Barbie has been mostly criticized on two aspects:
1. For having unrealistic body proportions
2. For having an excessive, materialistic lifestyle
Barbie dolls were criticized for having an adult woman’s body as soon as she was introduced. While her manufacturers were clear on how they had felt a gap in the market for children’s toys and had created Barbie dolls to fill that gap, many parents did not like Barbie for having an adult-female-like body.
Even more than sixty years later, Barbie is still criticized for her looks.
Some research related most young girls’ body dysmorphia to playing with Barbie in childhood. It is termed the Barbie Syndrome. However, the research is incomplete and non-conclusive.
While it’s true that most young women hate their bodies, several esteemed sources believe that Barbie alone should not be blamed for it.
Most young women who experience body dysmorphia grew up playing with Barbie and seeing a particular body image being portrayed across media as the ideal body. Women growing up in the two-decade period of the 90s and 2000s especially saw starved women as a beauty standard everywhere on the TV and in magazines.
Barbie doll’s manufacturer, Mattel Inc., tried to fight this criticism in 2018 by releasing a new line of Barbie dolls with varying heights, body types, complexion, and hair. However, even the only curvy Barbie was found to be too slim.
A lot of people find Barbie dolls limiting looks as degradation of women’s beauty. She has a small face and unrealistically symmetrical features in comparison to which real women can look imperfect.
Her unproportioned and unrealistically thin body also causes a stir among those who don’t want children to form impossible expectations from their bodies.
On the other hand, the overly optimistic and aspiring personality of Barbie has been under criticism too. Barbie’s lifestyle has been criticized for being too extravagant and unaffordable, especially given most of her career choices.
She and her family seem to be among the richest of the rich in the plastic world. Barbie’s luxury cars, a billion outfits, and constantly exciting lifestyles are also deemed too impractical for children to aspire to.
Barbie’s True Personality
It appears that a lot of those who criticize Barbie do so while forgetting that she is just a toy. Barbie is only a plastic doll and has no personality whatsoever.
Her personality will always be whatever Mattel Inc. decides it to be. Those who criticize should criticize Mattel Inc. for not manufacturing inclusive toys.
However, Mattel Inc. cannot be entirely blamed. Mattel Inc. has always kept their stance that the Barbie doll was created for children to turn it into whoever they want.
The purpose of the Barbie doll has been flipped, and though Mattel Inc. has failed to adapt to the many cultural and social changes that took place in the past two decades, its purpose of creating Barbie doll sets it free from any blame.
So, is Barbie nice? The answer to this question can vary greatly upon who is being asked.
However, everyone can agree on Barbie’s most famous trait pointed out by collectible-doll dealer Joe Blitman, ‘She never talks back.’