Body

Barbie's Unrealistic Body Proportions Make Sense. Here's Why...

A Mattel designer explains the rationale behind the icon's oft-maligned measurements

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The proportions of the Barbie doll's body have long been a hot button topic. Detractors say that her impossibly small waist, longer than long legs and bodacious tatas give girls an unrealistic idea of what a woman's body should (and can) look like and that Barbie's body makes them feel bad about their own.

For years Mattel, which markets Barbie to girls 3-12 years of age and which sells two of them every single second of every single day, has been on the receiving end of such criticism and has been encouraged to makeover their iconic doll's physique in a manner better representing "real" women.

READ: This Barbie's Got Back

Now, thanks to a candid chat Fast Company had with Kim Culmone, vice president of design for Barbie, Mattel may very well be off the hook.

When asked her opinion on Barbie's improbable-if-not-detrimental measurements Culmone pulls no punches and, instead, offers up a perfectly reasonable explanation...

"Barbie's body was never designed to be realistic," Culmone clarifies. "She was designed for girls to easily dress and undress. And she's had many bodies over the years, ones that are pose able, ones that are cut for princess cuts, ones that are more realistic. Primarily [her body is] for function for the little girl, for real life fabrics to be able to be turned and sewn, and have the outfit still fall properly on her body."

Well, just stick a pin in our argument then.

Culmone also points out that even if dressing the doll wouldn't become problematic, drastically changing Barbie's body would be fraught with its own problems.

"This is a 55-year-old brand where moms are handing clothes down to their daughters, and keeping the integrity of that is really important. Everything may not always be able to fit every doll, but it's important to me that the majority of it does, there's an obligation to consistency."

READ: The Physical Red Flags of Eating Disorders

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