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Tue Feb 4, 2014, 09:21 AM

Barbie's Lead Designer Defends Barbie's Crazy Proportions

http://www.fastcodesign.com/3025620/barbies-lead-designer-defends-barbies-crazy-proportions

BARBIE'S UNREALISTIC PROPORTIONS ARE A STANDARD TALKING POINT AROUND BODY IMAGE. FOR THE FIRST TIME, BARBIE'S LEAD DESIGNER FIRES BACK.

During a recent visit to Mattel’s design headquarters in Los Angeles, I was invited into the Barbie design studio. At first glance, it’s a sea of cubicles like any other. Then you notice the hundreds of dismembered Barbie heads peeking up over the dividers, and, of course, the pink. Pantone 219 crops up everywhere it can. Like a resilient weed growing straight from the corporate carpeting, pink sprouts in X-Acto knives, Post-it notes, and clutch purses. A bit of Barbie’s influence permeates everything. (One young designer even confessed to me that before the job she never really wore pink, but now she felt the need to accessorize with Barbie.)

But while the omnipresent pink propaganda is infectious, Barbie’s designers were anything but the Stepfordian dictatorship seeking to deliberately crush a young girl’s body image as critics may assume. Like all of the designers I met at Mattel, they were nice, enthusiastic people who wanted to make kids happy and worked hard to do so--which made it particularly difficult to pull aside Kim Culmone, vice president of design for Barbie, after her tour and ask the dark question looming inside so many of us:

Co.Design: What's your stance on Barbie's proportions?

Culmone: Barbie’s body was never designed to be realistic. She was designed for girls to easily dress and undress. And she’s had many bodies over the years, ones that are poseable, ones that are cut for princess cuts, ones that are more realistic.

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Reply Barbie's Lead Designer Defends Barbie's Crazy Proportions (Original post)
steve2470 Feb 2014 OP
liberal_at_heart Feb 2014 #1
jberryhill Feb 2014 #2
loli phabay Feb 2014 #3
HappyMe Feb 2014 #4
Sparkly Feb 2014 #5

Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 09:25 AM

1. bull. I remember playing with barbies. They were never easy to dress and undress.

The arms and legs were particularly hard to get clothes on and off of especially considering how tight the clothes fit the doll.

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 09:47 AM

2. I found Barbie easy to undress


But very disappointing once I had done so.

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Response to jberryhill (Reply #2)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 09:49 AM

3. rofl, truer words have never been spoken.

 

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Response to liberal_at_heart (Reply #1)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 09:56 AM

4. I had a Skipper and a Barbie.

I never had trouble dressing or undressing them. My friends and I loved playing with our Barbies. My friend Rosa's mom was a seamstress and she used to give us scraps of fabric, trims, snaps and ribbons. We had a bunch of fun making clothes for the dolls. Good times.

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Response to steve2470 (Original post)

Tue Feb 4, 2014, 10:00 AM

5. Weren't Barbie's proportions designed for adult men?

Seriously. I think she was based on another doll for GIs in WWII -- Lillie?

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