I want to be cynical, because you know, Barbie, but something moves me about the new Barbie Inspiring Women set of collector’s dolls that I stumbled on last night as I browsed the Target site. To think that in my childhood, Barbie was…well, Barbie, and now there are so many girls who aren’t white and/or blonde who can see themselves reflected back — that’s a huge change.

What a fabulous gift to consider this holiday as people are looking for more meaningful, but affordable gifts.

Browse the collection and you’ll find Mattel honoring such Inspiring Women in the collection as Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, Ella Fitzgerald (my absolute) favorite singer of all time), Billie Jean King, Sally Ride and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Some of the details are really thoughtful, like Maya Angelou holding what’s arguably her best-known book. And the boxes themselves…wow.  I might never open them.

Related: Barbie honors real-life healthcare heroes and wow, more stories like this please.

Maya Angelou from the Inspiring Women Barbie series

The Maya Angelou collector Barbie comes with her own copy of her best-selling book

Rosa Parks from the Inspiring Women Barbie series

Ella Fitzgerald from the Inspiring Women Barbie series

Eleanor Roosevelt from the Inspiring Women Barbie series

Related:  The best feminist baby gifts of the year….not just for girls


Frida Kahlo from the Inspiring Women Barbie series

Holiday gift idea: Billie Jean King from the Inspiring Women Barbie series

I can’t wait to see what comes next. There are so many inspiring Latina women beyond Frida Kahlo (fingers crossed for a Dolores Huerta doll) let alone Native-American women, Asian Women, and more…but I have to hope they’re in the making.

Like I said, I want to be a wee bit cynical. I mean, yes the faces are a little…Barbie. And maybe to some, it’s odd to see major activists like Rosa Parks or Billie Jean King in doll form. But then, I think of how these are women who were known for far more than their looks or their fashion, and would never have imagined a doll being made in their likeness…and, here we are.

That’s kind of great.

Related: The inspiring women of Fisher Price’s Little People. Yes, you read that correctly.

Sally Ride from the Inspiring Women Barbie series

Oh, and one thing I caught on Target’s site that’s new to me: You can now search for dolls by attributes like skin tone, eye color, and gender.

Interestingly though, I checked off “gender-neutral” and who popped up right at the top? Ken 60th anniversary edition doll.

I have so many questions.

Find lots of the Inspiring Women Barbie Collection at Target including Florence Nightingale, Helen Keller and more. Many of them are also available at Amazon — though they cost less at Target. And of course, check your local independent toy store because we love shopping local, and small businesses can always use our support around the holidays.