Barbie Continues to Be Inclusive With Its Dolls

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Barbie
Courtesy of ErikaWittlieb (Pixabay CC0)

Barbie has released details about its next steps to staying inclusive with its dolls. The 63-year-old American toy manufacturer’s new dolls will include Barbie with hearing aids and a Ken with vitiligo — a condition in which the skin loses its pigment cells (melanocytes). The new editions will be launched in Target, Walmart, and Amazon in June.

Mattel’s Global Head of Barbie Dolls, Lisa McKnight, stated that 2022’s Fashionista lineup will help children “see themselves reflected. She also believes children should be encouraged to play with dolls that do not resemble themselves to help them “understand and celebrate the importance of inclusion.”

Barbie
Courtesy of Mary Hung (Flickr CC0)

Dr. Jen Richardson, a leading practitioner in educational audiology, was brought in to help Barbie accurately imitate behind-the-ear devices for the toy. The new inclusive doll sports a ponytail with a hot pink hearing aid that could inspire those who have experienced hearing loss.

“I’m beyond thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll who looks like them,” Richardson said in a press conference.

The doll company has even taken steps to change the stereotypical body type as well. They now have full-figured, slender, and small chested Barbies along with less-muscular Ken dolls. They wanted to represent the various body types in the world.

In 2019, Mattel released their blue-eyed, blonde-haired doll in a wheelchair. They also gave the world a brunette doll with a prosthetic leg.

A year later they launched their next step to inclusivity with their Black Barbie with vitiligo. That year, she became one of the company’s best sellers in the United States. The company also launched eight body types, 35 skin tones, and 94 hairstyles, which were “designed to reflect the world girls see today,” according to CBS News.

Barbie’s 2021 Fashionista line best seller was its Black dol with an afro hairstyle. She became a fan favorite around the world.

Many people are wondering how their next line of inclusive dolls will look.

Written by Sheena Robertson

Sources:

CNN: Barbie unveils its first-ever doll with hearing aids; by Leah Dolan
Axios: Mattel unveils new inclusive toys, including Barbie with hearing aids; by Herb Scribner
Mayo Clinic: Vitiligo

Top and Featured Image by ErikaWittlieb Courtesy of Pixabay – Creative Commons License
Inset Image Courtesy of Mary Hung’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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