Project Dawn—mission complete at Mattel. The toy company more fully explained this secret initiative Thursday, and it involves an industry icon getting what the Washington Post calls "the makeover the world has been waiting for." Barbie dolls will now be available in four body shapes: the original model, plus tall, petite, and curvy versions, Time reports. Some other changes, including to hair and skin tones, had already been made last year, but what Mattel is calling the "evolution of Barbie" has taken a more assertive stance leading into the new year. In its intro to the 2016 Barbie Fashionistas dolls, Mattel writes on its Barbie site that "the line includes 4 body types, 7 skin tones, 22 eye colors, 24 hairstyles, and countless on-trend fashions and accessories," a selection that lets it "proudly offer girls more choices than ever," per a tweet Thursday.
The tweaks have come about in response to increasing criticism over the years about the brand's homogenous beauty standards and unrealistic body proportions, Mashable notes—turning Barbie into a "tiny-waisted, stiletto-wearing Glamazon that infuriated many women." Incremental changes to bring Barbie into the 21st century have been made over the past few years, but the company hopes this major push will propel it even further into modernity. The new dolls, which can be pre-ordered online at Barbie.com, will appear on store shelves sometime this year, Time notes. A Glamour blog notes the dolls "aren't perfect, but they're an excellent start. ... The big win here is that many more girls can now play with a doll that actually resembles them, rather than a vivid reminder of something they'll never be. And that's pretty powerful." (For the first time, a boy starred in a Barbie ad.)