Although many of us may have grown up playing with the classic blonde-haired, blue-eyed Barbies that failed to look like many of the ones holding the doll, that may no longer be the case with Barbie’s recent quest for inclusivity expanding the appearance and features represented. The latest line of the popular toy includes dolls with vitiligo and no hair as part of the Fashionista collection, which promises more “hairstyles, skin tones, and body types” in order to be the “most diverse doll line” in the world.
“What makes us different makes us beautiful!” wrote Barbie on its Instagram announcing the six new dolls.
It’s clear consumers have been eagerly waiting for moments of heterogeneity like this, with the first official glimpse of the model with the vitiligo skin condition last year garnering the most likes on any post Barbie has made on its Instagram thus far.
However, this long-awaited journey for greater—and realistic—representation is not new. Mattel, the company behind the infamous doll, has launched more than 170 variations of Barbies in the past few years including a body-positive model representing former Vogue Arabia cover star Ashley Graham and dolls with prosthetic limbs created in collaboration with teen activist Jordan Reeves to display “a multi-dimensional view of beauty” said the brand in a statement.
Back in 2018, Mattel released its first hijabi Barbie inspired by Olympic medalist fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who made history as the first American woman to compete in the Games with a hijab, as part of the Barbie Shero Program. The initiative, launched in celebration of Barbie’s 60th anniversary and International Women’s Day, honors trailblazing women from various backgrounds who empower future generations of girls to believe they too can make a difference. Some of the other role models showcased are actor Yara Shahidi, model Adwoa Aboah, artist Frida Kahlo, American principal ballerina Misty Copeland, film director Ava DuVernay, and Iranian fashion designer Leyla Piedayesh.
As the traditional definition of beauty evolves, so must the toys that serve as a model for beauty all around the world in order to reflect this diverse transformation and inspire youth to see the unique beauty each of them embodies.