Is Barbie the ultimate influencer? A deep dive into the brand’s enduring relevance

Jul 19, 2023
Is Barbie the ultimate influencer? A deep dive into the brand’s enduring relevance

Is Barbie the ultimate influencer? A deep dive into the brand’s enduring relevance

For over half a century, Barbie has been reigned as a cultural icon around the globe.

Not only was Barbie was one of the first toys from Mattel to capture the imaginations of children; she was also one of the original influencers for children, capturing their attention through her signature persona and versatility.

As an influencer, Barbie represented a positive and adaptable outlook with a perky all-American attitude. Her character embodied different professions, hobbies and lifestyles, encouraging children to dream big and embrace diversity. She is a lighthouse symbol of girlhood, and her impact has had a huge influence on fashion, beauty and societal perceptions of femininity, particularly throughout the 1990s and 2000s.

Below, we examine the highs and lows of Barbie’s career and how she overcomes them.

A doll’s controversies

In order for influencers to keep influencing, they must remain relevant, so, like the Barbie dollhouse, they need regular updates. Barbie is no different.

Like many influencers, Barbie has faced high levels of scrutiny around a myriad of issues, ranging from criticism around promoting an unrealistic and unattainable body image to a lack of diversity. For years, Barbie was Caucasian with blue eyes and a tiny waist. Barbie’s emphasis on fashion, beauty, and domesticity, was called out for limiting girls’ aspirations and reinforcing gender norms, while the doll’s production, packaging and disposal have raised concerns about plastic waste and sustainability.

However, like a disgraced influencer’s who publishes an apology video seeking redemption, Barbie recognized the need to repair her image and evolve as a cultural icon.

A changing Barbie world

To tackle diversity, reach new audiences and remain relevant in an inclusive and ever-changing world, Mattel introduced various transformations to the Barbie line. These changes include the introduction of dolls with different body types, skin tones and hairstyles. In doing so, Barbie aims to reflect a broader range of beauty standards and promote inclusivity.

Just as an influencer expands their horizons and audiences by embracing new opportunities, Barbie has also explored many different career paths beyond fashion. Go Barbie! She inspires children to explore different paths and break away from traditional gender stereotypes. Her positive outlook, versatility, and efforts towards inclusivity have solidified her position as an influential figure, continuing to inspire children and shape popular culture, as we’re seeing with the hype surrounding the movie launch.

Source: thedrum