Barbie dolls have changed a lot since the unattainable stick-thin yet double F cup figures we grew up with. And now they’re about to get more inclusive than ever.
As Mattel has just announced that the latest incarnations to its Barbie Fashionista line will now include black, brunette, skinny and curvy variations of the doll, as well as one in a wheelchair.
On top of braided hair textures, new body types, and disabilities, another doll will have a removable prosthetic leg.
Announced yesterday (11 February), Kim Culmone, Mattel’s vice president of Barbie Design, stated that the latest additions were a direct response to consumer demand, although the brand hopes the collection will help to broaden the definition of what’s considered beautiful.
Talking to Teen Vogue, Kim Culmone, Mattel’s vice president of Barbie Design, said "We’re going to be introducing a doll in a wheelchair and a doll representing physical disabilities. She has a prosthetic limb."
"[There will be] additional body sizes — a Barbie with a smaller bust and less-defined waist. A wheelchair or doll in a wheelchair was one of the most requested items through our consumer … hotline. It’s important to us to listen to our consumers."
Originally appearing on the Barbie Instagram account, there’s no word yet on whether the new edition dolls will also be available across the pond.
Barbie has come a long way since her first appearance back in 1959, and while the line has become increasingly diverse over the past few years, adding more than 100 new looks to the famous doll, this is the first time Barbie has featured disabilities.
Phil Talbot, Head of Communications at disability equality charity Scope said: “It’s wonderful to see one of the world’s most iconic toys embracing disability.
“Disabled children should have the opportunity to play with toys that represent them and their lives.
“At Scope, we believe that anyone working to challenge negative attitudes and celebrate disability is a Disability Gamechanger. Change requires action at all levels and everyone can play their part. “We hope more toy manufacturers follow suit and also become Disability Gamechangers.”
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