NEW YORK – Love her or loathe her, Barbie has been transformed again, this time into a version for children as young as 3.
Gone is the contentious hourglass figure for My First Barbie, which launched ahead of July’s live-action film about the icon starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling.
The slightly softer-bodied Barbie follows on the high heels of tall, petite and curvy iterations that were released five years ago in a massive makeover.
My First Barbie is 13.5 inches tall, 2 inches taller than traditional Babs, with a larger waist that de-emphasizes the bust line (it remains in place, however), and flesh-tone modesty undergarments permanently attached.
Her fashion is more kid-like, with playful heart, star and flower designs on jammies and flouncy preschool-friendly dresses and swim gear. Her accessories are larger for littler hands, and her hair is extra long for easier brushing.
My First Barbie’s limbs are moveable, like some past versions of the doll, and her facial features remain recognizable.
A huge milestone: Her fingers and thumbs are connected, eliminating a frequent complaint that Barbie’s hands get caught in her clothes when children try to put them on.
Lisa McKnight, a Mattel executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls, told The Associated Press the company created the new version in response to feedback from parents.
“We talk to parents and kids almost 365 days a year,” she said. “We started hearing a theme around younger kids wanting to play with Barbie. Parents were concerned that their children at the preschool age didn´t have the fine motor skills to have a positive play experience with our traditional fashion doll.”
The first rollout of the new doll includes four diverse skin tones and hair textures.
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