The world's busiest woman, Barbara Millicent Rhodes, whom we all commonly know as Barbie, and who has significantly shaped beauty standards as we know it today, has begun preaching about wellness. At a time when concepts like mindfulness, bath bombs, and fitspiration reign supreme, toy company Mattel, in collaboration with meditation app Headspace, taps in on the rising popularity of self-care with the new Wellness Barbie Collection, hoping to impart the benefits of self-care through play. According to the New York Post, Mattel reportedly said in a press release that, “the collection teaches girls daily routines that promote emotional well-being and includes three key themes: meditation, physical well-being, and self-care." Why? "Because Barbie knows to be one’s best is to give yourself the best care.”
A dive into wellness trends
Wellness Barbie is available in numerous versions. For one, there’s a Barbie Fizzy Bath Doll set, complete with a tub, and puppy for a relaxingly fun dip. If a bath’s not enough to unwind, there’s also a Barbie doll dressed for a spa session. Aside from that, to encourage healthy sleeping habits and induce calmness, there’s the Relaxation Barbie — with a laptop and a smartphone presumably connected to the Headspace app — as well as a Breathe with me Barbie doll. And, last but not the least, there’s a Fitness doll to push girls to have an active lifestyle.
Because of the partnership with Headspace, the dolls are matched by meditation sessions for kids curated by Barbie. Titles include Appreciation, an exercise to help kids appreciate the world around them; Stay Positive, an exercise to help little ones bounce back from worrisome thoughts; and Settling Down, for when playtime is over. These are meant to encourage parents to teach children about meditating and introduce mindful living at an early age — a very relevant step considering that children today are glued to small screens.
A model for inspiration
Barbie has always been an aspirational character for girls. And after getting negative publicity alleging the company's promotion of unhealthy beauty ideals — a phenomenon dubbed as The Barbie Effect — Mattel has since been re-shaping the doll, re-thinking its impact on girls, and adapting with the times. By featuring dolls based on inspirational women with a wide range of careers, Mattel taught generations of girls to dream big. More recently, by releasing a more diverse line of dolls, it taught girls to be more accepting of equality.
With this release, the billion-dollar brand is also introducing the concepts of wellness and mindfulness at an early age. After all, in today's world, too much stress is completely unhealthy, prompting WHO to list burnout as an occupational phenomenon that can lead to deterioration of physical health. So yes, given that, it's also important to teach kids, while they're young and impressionable, that it's important to rest every once in a while.
Self-care for all
As adults, we appreciate and love fizzy baths and so on every now and then. Wellness Barbie does that, and more: going to a spa, working out, or meditating. The thing with self-care though, is it isn't the same for everybody. We each have our own needs, our own personalities, and our own interests, so the way we do "self-care" can really differ from one another. While we love Wellness Barbie for teaching an important and oft-neglected concept by adults, we also have the responsibility to teach girls that wellness is not limited to indulging in spa sessions or spinning classes. Peace and relaxation can also be found in the simplest of things: such as being surrounded by nature, spending time with loved ones, or even confiding in a mental health professional.
While we're at it, maybe we, as adults, might also have to re-think our own concepts of self-care.
(Cover photo from: @barbiestyle)