Barbie has long held the imagination young girls. But the largest toy making corporate in the world, Mattel wants to do more with its iconic doll. It no longer wants to constraint it to a child’s play. Instead it wants to make a statement with the thin-hip-long-leg dolls. This time around, it launched its first Barbie wearing a Hijab, inspired by Olympian fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.
Thank you @Mattel for announcing me as the newest member of the @Barbie Shero family! The Barbie Shero Program recognizes women who break boundaries to inspire the next generation of girls and I am so excited to join this incredible group of women. I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true 😭💘 #shero
The doll unveiled by Ibtihaj herself at the Glamour's Women of the Year summit has two looks, one of a hijab with a fencing uniform complete with a helmet and training boots and another of the American sportsperson in an evening look.
Barbie being modeled on Ibtihaj stems from her determination to wear her Islamic headscarf, hijab, making her the first hijab-wearing US woman to compete at the Olympics. The fencer then went on to win a bronze in Rio last year.
"When I think about my own journey, me being a Muslim girl involved in the sport of fencing, there were people who made me feel like I didn't belong. For all those people who didn't believe in me, this Barbie doll is for you,” Muhammad said at the launch.Mattel has long been criticized for not making dolls that makes children who play with them feel more inclusive. Ibtihaj recalled that she wrapped tiny tissue scarves around her dolls to make them resemble more like her and the women around her.
We are so excited to honor @IbtihajMuhammad with a one-of-a-kind #Barbie doll! Ibtihaj continues to inspire women and girls everywhere to break boundaries. #Shero #YouCanBeAnything #GlamourWOTY pic.twitter.com/oV0e6ClgL6— Barbie (@Barbie) November 13, 2017
"Today I'm proud to know that little girls who wear hijab and, just as powerfully, those who don't can play with a Barbie who chooses to wear a headscarf," she said.It has only been this year that Barbie has started rolling out more inclusive dolls with nine dolls of different skin tone and body type.