The original Ruby, the “Anti-Barbie,” advertisement in 1998. (Photo: The Body Shop)
This week, Barbie celebrated her 56th birthday and in homage of the influence she’s had on discussions of beauty, we present Ruby, the “Anti-Barbie” debuted by The Body Shop in 1998. She appeared in a self-esteem campaign that included the slogan, “There are 3 billion women who don’t look like supermodels and only 8 who do.”
It was a bold statement from the brand that was aimed at kick-starting discussions on body image. Mattel, the maker of Barbie, wasn’t pleased and issued a cease-and-desist letter to The Body Shop. Hong Kong authorities banned the posters from appearing on the Mass Transit Railway because they were of (plastic) nudity and said that her large figure would “offend the passengers.” Kudos to Ruby for posing so confidently in her Rubenesque figure—we can all learn from her.