She’s every woman: no matter her proportions, Barbie is whatever a girl wants her to be.

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What would Ruth think?

That was my first thought when the news broke Thursday morning that Barbie would be available in three new body types: curvy, tall and petite, in addition to the classic Barbie. And Ruth was Ruth Handler, the daughter of Polish Jewish immigrants, and the mother of the most iconic doll in the world. She created Barbie when she noticed her daughter, Barbara, pretending her paper dolls were adults. Barbie wasn’t born to represent anything but a play pattern of young girls wanting to act like young women.

I’m 46 now, and still a big fan of Barbie. Despite all the push-back she’s been getting for not being a realistic body type, I’m a traditionalist who never felt Barbie was supposed to represent me: Barbie represented whomever I wanted her to be.

She could be anyone I imagined — a banker, a doctor, a fashion model, a bride, a sister. Petite brunette though I was, Barbie never made me feel short or “curvy” or less beautiful. I was in charge of how Barbie made me feel. And she made me feel as if I could take my imagination anywhere....

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