After much critique for setting unrealistic beauty trends, in recent times the Mattel Barbie brand has really revamped to bring about more diversity. A few months ago the brand modelled a doll based on US fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim American woman to compete in the Olympics while wearing a hijab.
Now, in accordance with International Women’s Day, Barbie has introduced a batch of dolls based on real-life figures in two separate series of Barbies; “Inspiring Women,” based on historical figures, and new additions to its “Shero” line of dolls named for inspirational contemporary women. This came after the brand conducted a survey of 8,000 mothers around the globe and found that 86% are worried about the kind of role models their daughters are exposed to
The ‘Inspiring Women’ dolls come with educational information about the contributions each woman made to society. One is Amelia Earhart, the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Frida Kahlo, the renowned Mexican artist and activist, will be another, along with Katherine Johnson, a pioneer in mathematics who broke barriers of race and gender. Although this series only has three dolls so far, it will grow with the release of new dolls.
Barbie’s ‘Shero’ program began in 2015 to highlight real women who have broken boundaries in their field. The 14 new Shero dolls, include ones based on Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins and US snowboarder Chloe Kim, who just won a gold medal at the 2018 Winter Games in Pyeongchang. Other Shero dolls honour fashion designers, journalists, actresses and entrepreneurs. The best part is that these Sheroes include honorees from the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, Turkey, France, China, Germany, Mexico, Poland, Italy and Spain,