There’s one word best to describe Barbie in the 2010s: "Diversity!" Barbie Fashionistas dolls are the most diverse ever seen. Barbie now comes in four different body types— curvy, petite, tall, and original; Ken has three different body types—broad, slim, and original; and they both have a multitude of ethnicities, involving facial shapes, skin tones, hairstyles, and fashions. There are dolls with prosthetic legs, wheelchairs, alopecia, vitiligo and other human conditions. The decade sees Ella, friend of Barbie and cancer survivor (with a bald head and wigs), and Olympian fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim American Barbie (she wears a hijab).
The prolific “You Can Be Anything…” line proves there’s no career Barbie can’t do. Paleontologist, photojournalist, barista, hairdresser, firefighter, boxer, astronaut, President of the United States—they’re all on her resume. At decade's end, Barbie has turned sixty, Ken will soon turn sixty (neither one looks a day over 18), and a pandemic sweeps the globe.
Into the 2020s we go. The newest generation of children have discovered the magic of Barbie playtime. She is sold in 150 countries worldwide, and according to Mattel Toys as of 2022, more than 100 dolls are sold every minute, with a total of 58 million sold annually. Over sixty-years ago, Barbie was hailed by Life magazine as “The most popular doll in town,” and this holds true to present day.
A Barbie History in Portraits
All dolls are from the collection of David Mansour.
Photos are the copyright of ©David James Mansour and ©Behold the Valley of the Dolls.
"Barbie 2010s" text is an excerpt from Behold the Valley of the Dolls: A Barbie History in Portraits
by David James Mansour