We’ve all heard that, if they were real, our favourite fashion dolls wouldn’t be able to hold up their own heads, or contain all their own vital organs. Well, Sindy is back on the scene – and she’s looking a little different. Rather more like the girls the toy is aimed at, in fact. Gone are the egg timer figure, matchstick limbs, high heels and miniskirts, to be replaced by a slim (but not necessarily worryingly so), fresh faced pre-adolescent sporting ’11 on trend outfits’ which could have been plucked from the average seven-year-old girl’s dream wardrobe. Whilst many mothers are welcoming the move, a few have complained that the Sindy of their own childhoods has become nigh-on unrecognisable.
Sindy, who has been off our shelves since 2007, launched in 1963 as the British alternative to Barbie. Marketed as her ‘wholesome’ counterpart, as the years passed, Sindy gradually became increasingly synonymous with the Barbie-like glamour she had apparently been created to contest (to the point at which Mattel felt compelled to file a lawsuit). At her 1985 peak, Sindy had cornered 80% of the fashion doll market in the UK.
Interestingly, Sindy’s rival has also undergone a makeover for 2016. In January, following decades of criticism, a range of flat shoe clad ‘petite’, ‘curvy’ and ‘tall’ Barbies was finally launched – each available in a variety of hair, skin and eye tone combination options – seeing sales rocket by 23%. Accusations that producing ‘curvier’ dolls was tantamount to promoting obesity were quickly levelled by some. However, in an indication of just how warped our cultural perceptions appear to have become, researchers responded that, scaled up to a height of 5’6″, ‘curvy’ Barbie would be a UK size 8 – significantly smaller than the average UK size 14 and a world away from ‘obese’. The standard Barbie model’s dress size? A UK 2 (that’s a size smaller than a US size zero).