This Cute New Barbie Doll Is Modeled After Ashley Graham

In the past, Mattel has been criticized for promoting poor body image through its unrealistic Barbie dolls. This year, though, the company began taking real steps to change the perception — and impact — of mega-popular toys. In January, it launched a collection of Barbies that represent three different body types: tall, curvy, and petite. Then, on Monday, plus-sized model and body activist Ashley Graham unveiled a Barbie-fied version of herself on Instagram.
"Come on @Barbie, let's go party!!!" she captioned a video of herself with the doll. "Thank you to my new and incredible @Mattel family for this honor!" The new addition is part of Barbie's Sheroes line, which has transformed the likes of Misty Copeland and Ava DuVernay into dolls in the past. Graham "challenges the conversation around body norms, and we think that’s a really important message for girls," Lisa McKnight, Mattel's SVP for the Barbie brand, told USA Today.

Barbie still has a long way to go before truly representing people of all shapes and sizes. The "curvy" Barbie still has pretty mainstream proportions, as does Graham's. (Graham is a size 14, which is actually smaller than the average American woman, according to a study in the International Journal of Fashion Design, Technology, and Education.) However, there's one important provision to this Barbie that the model insisted on: "The number one prerequisite was that her thighs touched," Graham told the Huffington Post. "I was like, 'Guys, we can make this Barbie, but if her thighs don’t touch, she’s not authentic.'" Graham hashelped gain a lot of visibility for the plus-sized community over the past few years. Hopefully, the doll will spread body positivity further to an even younger population.

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