After 57 years, Barbie finally gets the makeover that really matters.

She still can't bend her arms, but it's a start.

If you're one of the millions of people who've bought Barbie dolls and wished for them to look a bit more like you do, today is your lucky day.

For the first time in her 57-year history, Barbie comes in different body shapes: petite, tall, curvy, and original.


Meet Barbie, Barbie, Barbie, Barbie, and Barbie. Image Image from Mattel.

The new dolls are part of Barbie's Fashionista 2016 line. In total there are four body types, seven skin tones and 18 eye colors and hairstyles available — plus some dolls who can wear flat shoes! You can pre-order the new Barbies online or find them in stores everywhere starting in March.

This is a really big deal, and it happened because consumers made it happen.

Consumers have long been asking Mattel to offer Barbie dolls with realistic measurements and received little response. So, they started spending their money elsewhere. In 2014, Barbie doll sales dropped a record 16%. The same year, Barbie lost her title as the world's best-selling doll to Hasbro's Queen Elsa doll. It seems it was finally time for Mattel (Barbie's parent company) to listen to consumers and give them the realistically-shaped dolls they'd been asking for since the last century. After two years of development, we're meeting them for the first time.

They're all still named Barbie, though, which is definitely going to create confusion at the next toy family reunion. Image Image from Mattel.

This isn't the first time Barbie's had a big makeover.

For the first nine years she was on sale, Barbie was only available in one color: white. Christie, a black doll, debuted in 1968, but the first black doll named Barbie wouldn't appear on store shelves until 1980.

Even then, the black, Latina, and Asian dolls weren't really accurate — just Caucasian Barbie dolls in new colors with new hair. It would take Mattel another 20 years to better embrace diversity and release different facial styles.

Celebrate, but not too much, 'kay, girl?

Over the past few decades, Barbie has run for president several times, broken up with Ken, experimented with temporary tattoos, and even renovated her dream house after it turned out her wheelchair-using friend "Share a Smile Becky" couldn't fit in the elevator. Last year Mattel ran their first commercial featuring a boy (gasp! but not really) playing with Barbies and loving every second of it.

All of these, no matter how long they've taken to materialize, are good changes. But none of them addressed the biggest issue people have had with Barbie for decades: her body shape.

The silhouette of the original Barbie doll and Barbie's new curvy body type couldn't be more different. Image from Composite/Time Magazine.

Barbie's body shape isn't just an unrealistic stereotype — it's also physically impossible. If you were shaped like that; you'd die.

In 2013, Rehabs.com decided to show what Barbie's quality of life would be like if she were a real human. The results were ... unsettling.

You can see the full infographic here, but be warned, it's going to make you feel really bad for a plastic doll. Image from Rehabs.com.

Here's what Barbie would be like if she were real:

  • She'd be 5 feet, 9 inches tall, weigh about 110 pounds, and have measurements of 32-16-29.
  • She'd only have half a liver and a few inches of intestine, making digesting food pretty much impossible.
  • Her size-3 feet and little ankles would be unable to support her frame, forcing her to walk on all fours.
  • Her tiny neck is too spindly to hold up her giant head, so she'd be forever staring at the ground.

So, instead of being an aspirational symbol of femininity with a great career and a handsome boyfriend ... she'd be a weird demon creature that people take blurry night vision photos of in the woods and make horror movies about.


Can you imagine a skinny, bobble-headed creature shambling out of the woods on all fours? That's IRL Barbie, and she's terrifying.

Today's announcement is a step forward, but it's not the end of the road.

Now don't get me wrong. Growing up, I loved my Barbies. Some of them still live in an old naugahyde suitcase in my parent's garage. I'm delighted to see Barbie starting to look more like a person, like me, like you, and like the people we love. And I'm hopeful that with these changes, we'll see even more inclusivity from Mattel in the future — like trans Barbie, or elder Barbie, or veteran amputee Barbie, or pierced punk Barbie with a shaved head, among so many others. But most of all, this announcement reminded me that no mass-produced doll, in whatever shape and with whatever ethnicity, can be fully representative of the multitudes in all of us.

And I'm pretty sure Barbie would give me a high-five for that. You know, if she could bend her arms.

Family

On an old episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in July 1992, Oprah put her audience through a social experiment that puts racism in a new light. Despite being nearly two decades old, it's as relevant today as ever.

She split the audience members into two groups based on their eye color. Those with brown eyes were given preferential treatment by getting to cut the line and given refreshments while they waited to be seated. Those with blue eyes were made to put on a green collar and wait in a crowd for two hours.

Staff were instructed to be extra polite to brown-eyed people and to discriminate against blue-eyed people. Her guest for that day's show was diversity expert Jane Elliott, who helped set up the experiment and played along, explaining that brown-eyed people were smarter than blue-eyed people.

Watch the video to see how this experiment plays out.

Oprah's Social Experiment on Her Audience www.youtube.com

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via Cadbury

Cadbury has removed the words from its Dairy Milk chocolate bars in the U.K. to draw attention to a serious issue, senior loneliness.

On September 4, Cadbury released the limited-edition candy bars in supermarkets and for every one sold, the candy giant will donate 30p (37 cents) to Age UK, an organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for the elderly.

Cadbury was prompted to help the organization after it was revealed that 225,000 elderly people in the UK often go an entire week without speaking to another person.

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Well Being

Young people today are facing what seems to be greater exposure to complex issues like mental health, bullying, and youth violence. As a result, teachers are required to be well-versed in far more than school curriculum to ensure students are prepared to face the world inside and outside of the classroom. Acting as more than teachers, but also mentors, counselors, and cheerleaders, they must be equipped with practical and relevant resources to help their students navigate some of the more complicated social issues – though access to such tools isn't always guaranteed.

Take Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, for example, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years, and as a teacher for seven. Entering the profession, she didn't anticipate how much influence a student's home life could affect her classroom, including "students who lived in foster homes" and "lacked parental support."

Dr. Jackie Sanderlin, who's worked in the education system for over 25 years.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience, says it can be difficult to create engaging course work that's applicable to the challenges students face. "I think that sometimes, teachers don't know where to begin. Teachers are always looking for ways to make learning in their classrooms more relevant."

So what resources do teachers turn to in an increasingly fractured world? "Joining a professional learning network that supports and challenges thinking is one of the most impactful things that a teacher can do to support their own learning," Anglemyer says.

Valerie Anglemyer, a middle school teacher with more than 13 years of experience.

A new program for teachers that offers this network along with other resources is the WE Teachers Program, an initiative developed by Walgreens in partnership with ME to WE and Mental Health America. WE Teachers provides tools and resources, at no cost to teachers, looking for guidance around the social issues related to poverty, youth violence, mental health, bullying, and diversity and inclusion. Through online modules and trainings as well as a digital community, these resources help them address the critical issues their students face.

Jessica Mauritzen, a high school Spanish teacher, credits a network of support for providing her with new opportunities to enrich the learning experience for her students. "This past year was a year of awakening for me and through support… I realized that I was able to teach in a way that built up our community, our school, and our students, and supported them to become young leaders," she says.

With the new WE Teachers program, teachers can learn to identify the tough issues affecting their students, secure the tools needed to address them in a supportive manner, and help students become more socially-conscious, compassionate, and engaged citizens.

It's a potentially life-saving experience for students, and in turn, "a great gift for teachers," says Dr. Sanderlin.

"I wish I had the WE Teachers program when I was a teacher because it provides the online training and resources teachers need to begin to grapple with these critical social issues that plague our students every day," she adds.

In addition to the WE Teachers curriculum, the program features a WE Teachers Award to honor educators who go above and beyond in their classrooms. At least 500 teachers will be recognized and each will receive a $500 Walgreens gift card, which is the average amount teachers spend out-of-pocket on supplies annually. Teachers can be nominated or apply themselves. To learn more about the awards and how to nominate an amazing teacher, or sign up for access to the teacher resources available through WE Teachers, visit walgreens.com/metowe.

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One of the major differences between women and men is that women are often judged based on their looks rather than their character or abilities.

"Men as well as women tend to establish the worth of individual women primarily by the way their body looks, research shows. We do not do this when we evaluate men," Naomi Ellemers Ph.D. wrote in Psychology Today.

Dr. Ellers believes that this tendency to judge a woman solely on her looks causes them to be seen as an object rather than a person.

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Culture