Photo: Mattel Inc.
Heads up Barbie fans, there's a new crew in town and they look more and more like you and me than ever before!
Since 2016, the Barbie Fashionistas line of dolls has been leading the charge for diversity and inclusivity with more than 100 Barbie and Ken dolls featuring seven body types, 11 skin tones and 28 hairstyles.
Now in 2019—which also happens to be Barbie's 60th anniversary—Mattel has announced it will be adding new dolls that make the line even more inclusive. Take a look:
The new line, which will be available in the fall, introduces a new braided hair texture and a new Barbie body type that's described as having "a smaller bust, less defined waist and more defined arms." Best of all though, the new line will also include two dolls with permanent physical disabilities: one doll that uses a wheelchair and another doll with a prosthetic leg. Love it!
The team behind the new Barbies worked with the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital and wheelchair experts to make sure both the wheelchair and prosthetic limb were as realistic as possible. In fact, Jordan Reeves, a 12-year-old girl with a prosthetic arm with whom the Barbie team consulted, was the first to point out the simple fact that the prosthetic should be removable. "That was one of our first big a-has," said Kim Culmone, Mattel's vice president of Barbie Design, in an interview with Teen Vogue. "That’s not necessarily something we would have realized how important it would be to someone living with this experience."
For much of the last 60 years, Barbie has been scrutinized as an impossible physical ideal for young girls, so this step into more diversity bodies and inclusive dolls is huge—and Mattel knows it. "As a brand, we can elevate the conversation around physical disabilities by including them into our fashion doll line to further showcase a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion," the company said in a press release.
So bravo, Mattel! Kids deserve to see themselves represented in their world, and showing that all kinds of bodies and skin tones can be fashionable is definitely a step in the right direction.