Barbie Joan gets cut down a size (or 4)

Barbie Joan

Mattel has created a Mad Men collection of Barbies, which makes the six-year-old in me squeal. Once upon a time, I had THE baddest Barbie collection in the neighborhood. And I bet pink plastic heels are still stuck in the orange shag carpet of the basement.

But the Internets tell me something’s wrong with Mattel’s version of Joan. The notoriously voluptuous character has been slimmed down, causing quite the uproar in blogs and pop culture sites alike.

Mattel’s answer? They were trying to capture the essence of the show, not the proportions.

This raises some questions: What would have happened if Mattel had made a whole new Barbie for Joan? It’s not like Barbie is known for her diversity in sizes. Should Mattel have made a new bustier and hippy-er mold for one character? Would people have reacted negatively a Barbie Joan who was noticeably larger than the other characters in the cast?

This makes Mattel look about as tolerant as Janice is towards the America’s Next Top Model contestants. But I wonder if Mattel could have made the public happy with whatever mold it cast for Barbie Joan, no matter the accuracy.

I suppose at the end of the day, Barbie is just Barbie. She doesn’t grow, and she doesn’t change. And besides, Mattel refuses to give the dolls any of their naughty accessories anyway—no cigarettes or martini glasses allowed, GASP!—so how realistic can we possibly expect the dolls to be?

–By Tara Cavanaugh

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