Barbie in 2018 and beyond: How the doll is getting more ‘inclusive’

That’s one of the questions Barbie designers tackle in Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie (on Hulu Friday after premiering Wednesday at Tribeca Film Festival), a documentary from director Andrea Nevins that takes viewers inside Mattel in the months leading up to the brand’s headline-making launch of a new curvy doll, along with tall and petite dolls, in 2016. Without making it obvious that there’s a thigh gap, there “has to be some space for (the doll’s) legs to move,” says Kim Culmone, vice president of Barbie design, as she examines a prototype of curvy Barbie in the documentary. She likes the idea of having the limbs turn out on a wider angle, so as not to run into each other, but appear closer together.

This is the kind of effort Mattel has gone through to update the doll, whose original 1959 design was inspired by an adult novelty toy called the Lilli doll


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