In the 60 years since Ruth Handler introduced her to the world, Barbie has carried a massive amount of symbolic weight on her tiny shoulders . She’s been embraced and reviled. Andy Warhol painted her, women’s rights activists have protested her, and the Louvre even devoted an entire exhibit to her. She’s not just a plastic doll — she’s a global icon
Between 2015 and 2019, Barbie’s icon status took a new turn. For a doll historically white, busty, and thin, the second half of the decade saw the most radical overhaul to Barbie’s physical image to date. Mattel, the toy company that manufactures Barbie, majorly ramped up inclusivity efforts in the latter half of the 2010s, releasing dolls with a wider variety of body sizes, skin tones, hair textures, and ability status.