Barbie Unveils New Series of Diversity Dolls
The makers of Barbie are launching a series of new dolls in the latest drive by Mattel to increase the diversity of its dolls. The company said that it wanted to show a “multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion” as well as representing “global diversity and inclusivity”.
Creating a doll with no hair, it added reflected hair trends “from the catwalk to the sidewalk”. Should a girl be experiencing hair loss they will be able to see it “reflected in the line”, the firm concluded.
An image of a prototype of the doll with vitiligo - which was designed in consultation with a dermatologist - was teased on the Barbie Instagram channel last year and became its most-liked post ever, the company said.
According to the company the two bestselling Barbie Fashionistas dolls in the UK last year were ones with wheelchairs.
First launched in 1959, the Barbie doll has been criticised for promoting a narrow, unrealistic idea of beauty. However, the Barbie Fashionistas range has been seen as an attempt to change this.
"The variety offered is designed to inspire girls to tell more stories and find a doll that speaks to them," Mattel said. "Over the past five years, the line has evolved to be more reflective of the world girls see around them."
This year a Ken doll with "long rooted hair" and one with red hair will also be added to the range.
Most people on Twitter are happy about the new dolls, some seeing themselves reflected in Barbie form for the first time.
Barbie has made strides during the past five years to diversify. In 2019, more than half its doll selections were inclusive.
According to a Mattel spokesperson, since 2015, more than 170 new looks for Barbie have included 5 body types, 22 skin tones, 76 hair styles, 94 hair colors, and 13 eye colors.
Consumers have largely responded to these choices enthusiastically; a curvy black Fashionista with an afro hairstyle was the top selling doll during almost every week in 2019.
We think it's great that Barbie is becoming more inclusive and diverse and we look forward to seeing more of this in the future.
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