Barbie Just Got A Whole Lot More Inclusive
If you’re a woman of a certain age, then you probably grew up playing with Barbies. Or, if you didn’t play with the dolls, you certainly had friends who did. Barbie was sort of the quintessential toy for young girls (and boys!) for many generations. And she still is! Every Target and Walmart in the country has an entire aisle dedicated to Barbie and all her friends, accessories, and various homes and cars. But the Barbie of today looks really different than the ones we used to play with. Gone is the unrealistic figure and perfectly styled blonde hair. Now we have science Barbie and NASA Barbie, and even POTUS Barbie. She comes in different sizes and skin tones. As society has changed, so has Barbie. But the new line of Barbie Fashionistas dolls are the most representative and inclusive yet.
The Barbie Fashionistas 2019 line of dolls has something for everyone. Literally!
The Fashionistas line launched in 2016, as a way to bring Barbie into the new age. The line includes 40 different dolls with 7 body types, 11 skin tones, and 28 different hairstyles. There are dark-skinned Barbies, short Barbies, thin Barbies, and athletic Barbies. There are Barbies with curves and Barbies without. The newest line even has 15 different Ken dolls (one has a man bun!). There is a doll for everyone, which is what Mattel and the Barbie brand have been aiming for. Because Barbie isn’t just for one person or child – she should be for everyone.
The Barbie Fashionistas line was expanded this year, and is now more representative and inclusive than ever before.
That’s right! That’s Barbie in a wheelchair. And Barbie with a prosthetic limb. That gorgeous doll in the middle has textured, braided hair. And if you look closely, you’ll see that the body type has changed. Barbie was always known for her tiny waist and huge rack. New and improved Barbie and her friends have a more realistic body, with a less-defined waist, smaller breasts, and wider hips. But the dolls with the permanent physical disabilities are really striking. Because guess what? Plenty of kids use wheelchairs or go through life with a noticeable physical disability, and they need representation, too.
A spokesperson for the brand says that the design team worked closely with wheelchair experts and partners at UCLA Mattel Children’s hospital to create a doll that was inclusive to all kids, regardless of their physical abilities. 13-year-old Jordan Reeves, who is the co-founder, ambassador, and lead innovator of the organization Born Just Right, collaborated on the development of the doll with the prosthetic limb. Mattel really wanted to involve people from these communities in order to get it just right.