The pressure to conform to a societal standard of beauty is something that has been ever-present and imposed on the the way girls are raised. Whether it be playing with Barbies or scrolling through your Instagram feed, the expectations that are placed on appearances rarely reflect a young girl’s reality. Preserved in plastic, Barbie’s legacy has withstood the much-needed dialogue around the clear lack of representation and negative body image the brand had embodied for decades. They’ve done this by introducing a wider range of dolls, ones that are accessible to the equally wide range of little girls who love Barbie.

We can tell ourselves that social media is simply a highlight reel, that the models in your favorite magazine are bathed in Photoshop, yet it rarely makes the picture look any less desirable. Working towards the normalization of all bodies doesn’t mean ignoring the media, it means changing it. We have a long way to go, and so does Barbie, but if we continue to actively dismantle unhealthy perceptions of women, aspiring to be a “doll” could be as simple as being your true, unapologetic self.

By Franny DeAtley