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Before Kim Kardashian, before Beyonce´, 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 on the vamp-ish, plunging gown she wore for 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, there is something significant missing: the mega-celeb's traffic stopping curves.
If Barbie were an actual woman, she'd have a 36-inch bust, 18-inch waist, and 33-inch hips-dimensions not seen since the days of the whalebone corset, and certainly not Lopez's measurements. She's in fabulous shape but has never been shy about showing off her full thighs, curvy hips, and voluptuous derriere. While there are fans of both Barbie and the Lopez who are clamoring to buy the new doll, there has also been a backlash on social media. One critic tweeted, "she's waaaay to skinny for my taste" and another quipped, "@J.Lo, @Barbie, @Mattel Launches Versions With J. Lo's Face But None Of Her Assets!" 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 Hijas Americanas: Beauty, Body Image, and Growing Up Latina and Beautiful You: A Daily Guide to Radical Self-Acceptance points out that dolls carry more than meaning than being a simple plaything. "When we give a girl a doll, we give her 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 shade or hair color."
Some Latina celebrities have been open about their body image struggles. After giving birth in April, Shakira spoke about the pressures to get back to her pre-baby 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 group 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, "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!'"
The statement makes her doll that much more disappointing. Lopez has been touting it -"I wanted to live in Barbie's world. I wanted to be Barbie," she said in a video promotion." She added, "Your children emulate what you do and I always want to set a good example for them." Her rise being "Jenny from the block" to a becoming massively popular international pop icon who was named number one on Forbes top 100 celebrities list in 2012 is inspirational. Her Barbies-not so much. The public worships the star's womanly beauty, in 2011, PEOPLE called her the most beautiful woman on Earth, but the new plastic figurines are pressed from the same old factory cookie cutter. There is some glitz and glam, but with a model like Jennifer Lopez, maybe it was time that Mattel broke the mold.
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