Chelsea Roff: Meet the New Yoga Teacher Barbie

According to Mattel, Barbie lets you be anything you want to beAnd what do more and more young girls want to be nowadays? A blonde-haired, blue-eyed, double-jointed yoga teacher, apparently.

I reported earlier this year on the new Presidential Barbie Doll, so I suppose it was only a matter of time before the new empowered plastic toy shed her skirt-suit for spandex. Part of me thinks oh, what’s the harm? Kids are being exposed to yoga at an early age, encouraged to stay active, and taught about mind-body awareness practices before they even hit kindergarten. All good things! But something about seeing that sickly-proportioned doll’s foot behind her head just makes me cringe. As if the stereotypes of yoga weren’t bad enough already, now kids are implicitly being taught that yoga teachers look like a big-headed Pam Anderson. Not really the message about yoga we need going out to the up and coming generation.

But perhaps I’m being too harsh. I mean, what could we expect? Mattel to come out with a lusciously curvy yoga teacher doll of African descent? Or how about a yoga teacher Ken? Probably not. Maybe next century.

What do you think? Would you buy the new yoga teacher barbie for your son or daughter? 

h/t YogaDork


  1. Honestly, I grew up playing with barbies and I was obsessed with the doll for my whole childhood. But I don't think any of my self image issues came from the doll, to me it was just a doll that I played make believe with. I think media and people are much more harmful when it comes to how you look at yourself. But this is is just my experience.

    1. Thanks for leaving a comment, Prachi. I agree with you — my body image issues certainly didn't come from playing with barbie dolls when I was a kid — but I do think the influence of kids' toys is significant, even if subtle and subconscious.

      I agree that parents, teachers, friends, and other family members are probably a lot more influential in shaping our beliefs about beauty and body, but I think the icons we see in the culture we grow up in have a significant effect nonetheless. I actually think children's toys fall under the umbrella of media influence, because as a five year old we're not looking at magazines to learn about the world around us… we're looking at storybooks, dolls, cartoon characters, etc. Of course it's unrealistic to think we're going to make a doll that reflects the diversity of human experience… but I do think Barbie is particularly bad about propagating unhelpful stereotypes about body and beauty to young girls.

      1. It's true, media and culture today are so different then from when I was younger. Raising children in today's world is a very difficult task!

  2. I think it's hilarious.

    I see the whole point against dolls in general, which emphasize figure over character, but it's cool that if there's going to be a doll that people aspire to at all, it's a doll of a yoga teacher. I guess life is what teaches us that it's what inside that counts, and the icons can just be signposts?

  3. I'm a little conflicted over this. Yeah, cool, kids are learning about yoga. But whoa. Hey. Talk about a warped view of it! So long as the market doesn't take it too far with this one, hopefully no harm.