In the News

Times are changing, and so is Barbie

Many young people all over the world play or used to play with Barbie dolls. I remember the dolls I played with as a kid all looked the same. They were tall, thin and white. Their feet were molded to the shape of a high-heeled shoe, which they all wore, and the only variation was whether they were blonde or brunette. But times are changing, and Barbie is changing with them. 


Better together. 💛💛💛 Happy #FriendshipDay from our crew to yours! #Barbie #Fashionistas

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Mattel, the company that created Barbie dolls, has spent the past years making Barbie the most diverse doll on the market. In 2017, a hijab-wearing Barbie, inspired by Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, hit the shelves, closely followed by a line of dolls with inclusive skin tones and hairstlyes. But Barbie didn't stop there! Dolls with prosthetic limbs, hair loss and wheelchairs joined their counterparts last year, while Mattel worked with a team of dermatologists to make their Barbie with vitiligo, a skin condition that causes loss of pigment, as realistic as possible.


Celebrating the beauty in our differences this #WorldVitiligoDay.

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Barbie is now no longer exclusively female. In September, Mattel released a line of gender-neutral dolls with removable wigs and multiple outfits. Even Ken is rocking a new look, with long blonde hair that debunks harmful stereotypes of masculinity. 


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According to Mattel, the newest line of Barbies includes 176 different dolls with 8 body types, 35 skin tones and 94 hairstyles. For almost every week of 2019, the top-selling doll was a "curvy black fashionista with an afro hairstyle" and 1 in 4 dolls sold in Britain are Barbies in a wheelchair. 


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"For 2020, Barbie is continuing the journey to represent global diversity and inclusivity in the fashion doll aisle by showcasing a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion," said a Mattel spokesperson to CBS News. And we couldn't agree more. 


Research: CBS News and Washington Post 


by Molly Greenwold | 7/1/2020