We're proud to present this article from our friends at Yahoo! Shine.
Before Kim Kardashian, before Beyoncé, there was Jennifer Lopez, the Latina superstar from the Bronx who proudly flaunted her blockbuster body. This week Mattel released two versions of a collectable Jennifer Lopez Barbie, one in a red carpet look modeled after the vampish gown with plunging neckline that Lopez wore to the 2012 Oscars, and the other inspired by her risqué sequined body stocking costume from last year's "Dance Again" world tour. Although both looks get some details right — her glamorous Academy Awards updo, for example, and her silver peep-toe, lace-up concert booties — something significant is missing: the megaceleb's traffic-stopping curves.
If Barbie were an actual woman, she'd have a 36-inch bust, an 18-inch waist, and 33-inch hips — dimensions not seen since the days of the whalebone corset, and certainly not identical to Lopez's measurements. She's in fabulous shape but has never been shy about showing off her full thighs, curvy hips, and voluptuous derrière. Mattel says the collector's doll was made from a new design, not the traditional Barbie mold. "We created a specialty sculpt that has more enhanced curves," Robert Best, Barbie director of design told Yahoo Shine in an email. He says the brand worked closely with Lopez and that she "is pleased with the collaboration and a fan of the dolls." While there are admirers of both Barbie and Lopez who are clamoring to buy the new doll, there has also been a backlash on social media from those who don't think the doll represents the entertainer's true body type.
Read on for more.
One critic tweeted:
— Michaela Christensen (@mah82) November 7, 2013
— E. Miranda-Rodriguez (@MrEdgardoNYC) November 6, 2013
When a Santa Fe radio station posted images of the doll on its Facebook page, a typical reaction was, “She’s J. Lo after a 50 pound weight loss.”
Rosie Molinary, author of the books "Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina" and "Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance," points out that dolls represent much more than a simple plaything. "When we give a girl a doll, we give her a message. And so many of our dolls send the same message: Be skinny and blonde. What that teaches our girls is that there's one right type of body and that we have to aspire to that type of body in order to have worth," she tells Yahoo Shine. She adds that she hopes that companies will start to understand that there is more to diversity than just skin tone or hair color.
Some Latina celebrities have been open about their body image struggles. After giving birth in January, Shakira spoke about the pressures to get back to her prebaby weight and has frankly described agonizing to her therapist about wishing she "had longer legs, slimmer hips, a smaller bottom, even straighter hair" when she was a rising star in her 20s. And Salma Hayek, who has also blasted the media for presenting women with an unachievable ideal, admitted that she felt "completely disfigured" when she was pregnant with daughter Valentina. Lopez, however, says she's always been comfortable in her own skin. Just last month, the 44-year-old mom of two, who grew up in a tight-knit Puerto Rican clan, told Cosmopolitan Latina, "Early on, my family really made me love who I was and what I looked like. My body was nothing out of the ordinary in my neighborhood." She added that, although there was pressure early on to conform to Hollywood's skinny-girl standards, she emphasized, "You have to stand up and say, 'There's nothing wrong with me or my shape or who I am, you're the one with the problem!'"
Lopez has been touting the doll — "I wanted to live in Barbie's world. I wanted to be Barbie," she said in a video promotion," adding that children emulate what adults do so it's important to set a good example for them. Her rise from being "Jenny from the block" to becoming an international pop icon who ranked No. 1 on Forbes top 100 celebrities list in 2012 is inspirational. But her Barbies — arguably, not so much considering how much the public adores her curves and her gorgeous Latina looks. In 2011, People called her the most beautiful woman on Earth. While Mattel may have broken the mold for its J. Lo Barbie, it still has a ways to go before capturing the star's real womanly beauty.
—Sarah B. Weir
Also on Shine: