New Barbie Versions Launched

July 27, 2015

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. modern / ˈmɒd ərn / (adj.) – relating to something that is up-to-date
Example: Alicia’s taste in clothes is very modern.

2. ankle / ˈæŋ kəl / (n.) – the body part or joint between the foot and the leg
Example: I sprained my ankle during my ballet class.

3. flats / flæts / (n.) – a type of footwear that is flat or has no heel
Example: I like wearing flats because they’re very comfortable.

4. feedback / ˈfidˌbæk/ (n.) – information or criticism given to improve something
Example: The customers gave their feedback about the store.

5. diverse / daɪ ˈvɜrs / (adj.) – consisting of people or things that are different from one another
Example: The store offers a diverse selection of toys.


Read the text below.
Mattel has released a new line of Barbie dolls that better represents today’s modern stylish girl.

The new Barbie Fashionista line was launched in June this year. Dolls from this line now have adjustable ankles. People can also choose from a variety of dolls with features different from that of the original ones.

With adjustable ankles, Barbie dolls can now wear comfortable flats. Since 1959, Barbie has been wearing high-heeled shoes. Now, Barbie has the option to wear either heels or flats, depending on her outfit.

Aside from modifying Barbie’s ankles, Mattel has also created different versions of the doll in various shapes and sizes. Barbie dolls now come in fourteen different facial features, eight various skin tones, eighteen eye colors, twenty-two hair styles, and twenty-three hair colors. This new line has received positive feedback on social media, with netizens praising Mattel for creating a more diverse line that gives consumers more options.

The inspiration behind the creation of Barbie came from a popular German doll named Lilli, which was created in 1952. In 1956, the doll caught the attention of Barbara Handler, daughter of Mattel co-founder Ruth Handler, during a trip to Switzerland. Ruth bought the rights to the doll and brought three Lilli dolls to her home in California. Shortly thereafter, on March 9, 1959, Ruth introduced Barbie—her own version of the doll named after her daughter.

Today, Barbie remains to be one of the most popular toys in the world, with one doll sold every three seconds.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you like the changes in the new Barbie versions? Why or why not?
·         How do you think this will affect Barbie’s image?

Discussion B

·         What popular toy in your country would you like to improve? How will you improve it?
·         What toys do you think are not appropriate for children? Kindly discuss your answer.

July 27, 2015