Barbie is once again showing its commitment to global diversity with a new line of dolls. On Wednesday the storied brand unveiled its most diverse collection yet, adding a doll with vitiligo, a doll with no hair, and a doll with a darker skin tone that uses a gold prosthetic limb.
The additions are a welcomed extension for toy company Mattel who has said that it is committed to “continuing the journey to represent global diversity and inclusivity in the fashion doll aisle by showcasing a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion.”
Some may remember that in 2019 Barbie launched a doll in a wheelchair, one with a judge profession, a Rosa Parks Barbie modeled after the celebrated civil rights leader, and partnered with KITH Women to bring a range of fashion-forward dolls, one of which was brown-skinned with blonde hair.
In a statement to ESSENCE, Lisa McKnight, SVP and GM of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel said, “We are proud that Barbie is the most diverse doll line on the market that continues to evolve to better reflect the world girls see around them. Our commitment to better reflect the world drives a powerful conversation, and we know our efforts are resonating with eight consecutive quarters of growth and the Fashionistas category up double digits in 2019.”
One of the most well-recognized fashionistas in the industry today is Winnie Harlow, who lives with the skin condition vitiligo. For the doll with her same condition, a rep for Barbie explained that they worked with a dermatologist to ensure that it was accurately representative of the community. They added that offering a doll with vitiligo allows children to “play out even more stories” that is reflective of the world around them.
A timely addition, the doll with no hair comes less than two weeks after Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley revealed that she is living with alopecia totalis. The Massachusetts rep said of her reveal, “As a Black woman, the personal is political. My hair story is no exception. Sharing a very personal story today to create space for others.”
In the last five years, the brand has evolved to be more inclusive and reflective of the world girls see around them. They’ve introduced more than 170 new looks in that timeframe., including a hijab-wearing doll, an Ava DuVernay barbie, and one modeled after Olympian gymnast Gabby Douglas.