Plus-Sized Barbie Draws Major Criticism. Would You Buy One?

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By Daphne R

A Facebook group called Plus Size Modeling posted an image along with the question, ‘Should toy companies start making plus-sized Barbie dolls?’ about a week ago and sparked a debate about the doll’s possible impact on body image. The posts drew a lot of attention with many negative comments about what many believed was an inaccurate representation of the curvy woman’s figure. There were more than 1,600 shares of the posts and nearly 36,000 likes.

One user believes that the plus-size doll would promote poor health and bad eating habits. Another user argued that a doll that shows real life perspective would be better since the average dress size is 14-16 rather than an unhealthy size 0.

Much of the discussion was sparked because of a mock up image of a plus-size Barbie, with multiple chins, next to a traditional Barbie. Melisa Audel commented, ‘I hope she comes with a blood pressure cuff to show young girls that how many chins she has is not what’s important but the health issues that could come along with being this size.’

Overall, everyone felt that a doll that had features representing the plus-size woman should fall on middle ground as opposed to the over-exaggerated triple chins. The Barbie did a better job of representing obesity than plus-size. The popular opinion was that a Barbie should be not too big and not too thin, realistically proportioned. was responsible for producing the image of the plus-size Barbie, not Mattel. Therefore, if Mattel ever decided to produce a plus-size doll it would probably look remarkably different from the doll in the photo. wasn’t the only person to come up with a plus-size doll concept. Artist Nickolay Lamm also created a mock up doll, but he based his doll’s dimensions on CDC measurements of an average 19 year old woman. Like Worth1000, he photographed his doll next to a traditional Barbie doll. Lamm feels, “If Barbie looks good as an average sized woman in America, what’s stopping Mattel from making one?

Lamm believes that if the traditional Barbie existed in real life, she’d weigh about 110 lbs and would be considered the size and weight of an anorexic woman.

No word yet on whether Mattel is even considering or entertaining the idea of a plus-size doll but if they were, the feedback generated from this Facebook group’s discussion may prove to be valuable in their planning.




Daphne R is an experienced marketing and communications professional that provides social commentary, self-help, tips, and reports news of events that matter to African Americans.




  1. Mela

    December 25, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I think this is a wonderful idea, but why should Mattel make the dolls? Here’s a golden opportunity for some enterprising and creative black people, (and that could be you. Yes, YOU.) to create and market the product. I find it interesting on a personal level as I have been thinking about how pretty so many plus-size and yes, (gasp!) obese women really are. There are millions of beautiful women out there and they are not all thin, or average height, or even able-bodied. If you open your eyes and really look, then you’ll see.

  2. Devon

    December 27, 2013 at 8:06 pm

    If I was married and had a daughter I wouldnt buy her a plus size doll, period. Sends a bad message.

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