She’s an icon and she is totally the moment! I’m talking about none other than Barbie herself, and for good reason. Barbie has always had a hold on our hearts, ever since 1959, when she arrived on shelves for all to enjoy. Her look has evolved over the years, as well as her social circle. But how closely have you paid attention to her all-inclusive appeal lately? Mattel has really made it their mission to have a doll for everyone, and as a mom, I couldn’t be happier.
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From dolls of different sizes and shapes to dolls of unique skin conditions, Mattel has made it their mission to have any child be able to relate to a doll in their Barbie aisle. You should be able to see a close resemblance in your features being displayed by at least one of the dolls, and I find that so wonderful! As a mom of two impressionable young girls, I know the kind of messages that could be sent through how their dolls are designed. Lack of inclusion in their toys could be sending a message that beauty only comes in a few forms.
We all love the Disney brand and their line of princesses. Although they have made great strides in their recent films of showcasing other cultures and skin tones, they have yet to create a princess who possesses other qualities such as something like vitiligo. Vitiligo is a disease in which blotches of skin lack pigment.
Not only does Mattel offer this feature in their Barbie doll, but they have also offered the skin tone option in their “Ken” doll model as well. Barbie says on its website that the dolls are to add “more diversity for endless storytelling possibilities.” Ken is also available in new body types and features, including long hair, freckles, and cornrows.
Inclusive Toys Are Valuable Teaching Tools
Lately, my girls have been gravitating to the more unique doll choices. My oldest daughter loves her latest Barbie purchase in which Barbie has hearing aids. It was designed in partnership with a leading audiologist, so the integrity of the design stayed intact. I think it’s beautiful that my girls choose dolls that are diverse, not only in skin color but other physical features as well.
This transition came around a few years ago when I realized I was purchasing my girls’ dolls in practically all the same skin tone. I thought to myself, “Am I projecting racism accidentally by the toy purchases I’m making?” I knew I had to use this moment to educate and expand not only their mindset but my own.
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Simply purchasing dolls that looked similar to my girls was not the mindset I needed to have. If I expected them to see the world from a more inclusive lens, I would need to start teaching this importance early, and not just by my words. My girls play with their Barbies almost everyday, so the lesson is most important there in my book.
I’m so proud of Mattel for realizing how important it is for every child to recognize themselves while walking down the toy aisle. My absolute favorite new addition to the Barbie world is one where she has no hair. Mattel says the doll with no hair was created “to encourage children who have experienced hair loss of any kind” to feel seen and beautiful.
Showing the world that beauty comes in all forms is one of the most important lessons we can teach our children. I appreciate brands like Mattel who take the time to spend the marketing money towards that message. We all need to learn how to be more accepting of one another, and if we focus that lesson on our youth, we may get more traction in making this world a more loving place. Thank you, Barbie, for showing us that beauty comes in many forms!
Share what you think about inclusive Barbie dolls in the comments!
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