During a time that so many people are waking up to the essential need for diversity reflected in all aspects of life, we’re so thrilled to see that toy makers are getting it too. Especially one of the biggest in the world. Which is why we’re cheering for the launch of the Ibtihaj Muhammad Olympian Barbie, the newest member of the Barbie #Shero line.
Related: Don’t miss the rest of our Editors Top 10 Picks of the Year
She’s modeled after the incredible Olympic medalist US saber fencer, who was the first Muslim-American athlete to medal at the games, and the first American Olympian to wear a hijab during competition. And, she’s just an all-around inspiring person.
(Plus, Ibitihaj was born in New Jersey so shout-out to all our Maplewood moms who are extra big fans!)
Thank you @Mattel for announcing me as the newest member of the @Barbie #Shero family! 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 pic.twitter.com/py7nbtb2KD
— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) November 13, 2017
While Barbie has been an easy target for mockery over the years, we’re impressed by Mattel’s remarkably authentic effort to get with the times. Behold: This year’s new Ken dolls in lots of new shapes, skin tones, and, well, perceived sexualities; the inspiring Misty Copeland Barbie modeled for the first African-American principal dancer in the prestigious ABT; and even last year’s curvy Barbies.
To the cynical, this may just seem like marketing. But marketing can both reflect the culture — and help inform and change it.
Barbie’s VP of global marketing, Sejal Sham Miller stated, “Ibtihaj is an inspiration to countless girls who never saw themselves represented, and by honoring her story, we hope this doll reminds them that they can be and do anything.”
Here’s to more kids growing up seeing themselves represented in the toys and dolls they love and congrats to one of our top 10 editors picks of 2017.