Is Ashley Graham’s Barbie fighting a losing battle?

Barbie’s makers, Mattel, bring you Ashley Graham plus-sized beautiful realness with her likeness revealed at the Glamour Awards and people are loving it! Good bye thigh gap, hello natural sass!


Well, MOST people are loving it. The internet will always do its best to be both supportive and abrasive in equal measure. If a more “normal” sized Barbie doll is subject to online abuse, how can it’s flesh and bone counterparts make any headway in a sizeist culture? Is it doing more harm, then help?ICYMI this is the super fly Barbie in question:

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 14: Model Ashley Graham reveals the new Barbie at Glamour Women Of The Year 2016 LIVE Summit at NeueHouse Hollywood on November 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Glamour)
(Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Glamour)

Different shaped Barbie’s is a relatively new approach Mattel have been taking, and even though you cannot buy Ashley Graham’s doll, you can buy plus-sized dolls.

Despite the good we feel like this should be doing, there’s comments like these that make us wonder if attitudes are ever going to change:

Escalating to the downright horrendous:

Barbie was originally created in the image of what a man’s fantasy of woman would look like.


So does she carry the right kind of cultural prestige to start to change the conversation about body shape? Comments like this suggest not:

On the flipside, whereas Barbie might not be the role model to change the world for girls and women around the world. But maybe inspirational women like Ashley Graham are.


It feels like until “normal” shapes stop being a total novelty it’s a fruitless effort to place achievements like this on a pedestal. It shouldn’t be remarkable that a girl’s toy reflects what a real female body looks like, should it?

What do you think? Are bigger Barbie dolls a step in the right direction, or should we stop focusing on plastic idols and concentrate on the real?

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Written by Sarah Clare

Sarah is the Lead Writer and Design Queen here at Maximum Pop! Sarah holds an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University, and a BA in Creative Writing with English Literature from Marjon (BIG UP THE MARJON MASSIVE!). Sarah joined MP! after seeing an advertisement for writers on Instagram – because where else would a design master find their dream job?

Sarah is currently working on an expose on Draco Malfoy in her spare time. But not if his father hears about it.

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