Mattel have changed their Barbie line-up to make it more “diverse”, and while the new line up now features the curvy Barbie, the tall Barbie and the petite Barbie (to represent the woman of the world today) there is, disappointingly, still no Barbie wearing a hijab.
Despite 1.6 billion people in the world being muslim, Mattel have yet to include a hijab-wearing Barbie in their new line up, which sees three new body types (and two new shoe sizes) introduced to the brand’s collection.
She travelled into space in 1965, became hispanic in 1980, ran for presidency for the third time in 2004, and became a successful entrepreneur in 2014, yet 2016 Barbie, who is looking great for 57, is still not representing the Muslim community.
While a muslim Barbie was made for the 50th anniversary seven years ago (she was covered head-to-toe and wore a burqa), that particular doll is not available to buy online or in stores. In fact, it was sold in auction at Sotheby’s with proceeds going to Save The Children charity. The burqa was created by Italian designer Eliana Lorena.
“We introduced new hair colours, new skin colours, new ethnicities, because if you look around the world, and the world the kids are experiencing, is really multi-cultural and diverse,” said one Mattel spokesperson. While the range is much more diverse – Barbie has certainly progressed from her 1959 origins as a blue-eyed, blonde babe – it is yet to fully represent all ethnic groups and religions.
The new Barbies and their varying body shapes and heights mean Barbie now has two sizes of feet (curvy and tall Barbie have larger feet) and clothes that don’t fit on all of the dolls. While this attention to detail allows children to understand that not everyone is born with micro-waists, ample bosom and never-ending long legs, there’s still no representation for young Muslim girls.
Is Mattel’s Barbie really celebrating all beauty and truly reflecting what is happening in the world? We think not.
Perhaps Mattel can take some inspiration from NewBoy who make Fulla, a 11½ inch Barbie-like fashion doll marketed to children of Islamic and Middle-Eastern countries. Created in Dubai, the doll hit stores in 2003.
Fulla was allegedly designed to promote Muslim values. Unlike the American Barbie, there is no Ken equivalent.
Hopefully in the next Mattel shake up, Barbie’s diversity will include representation for Muslim fans.