I’ve been really encouraged by Barbie’s new Inspiring Women Series, which celebrates women trailblazers throughout history. And I was especially excited to see that they’ve chosen Ida B. Wells as their next historic figure to expose to a new generation of girls.
A teacher, journalist, civil rights advocate, and formerly enslaved woman, Ida B. Wells made huge strides toward justice during her lifetime. She shined a national spotlight on the horrifying practice of lynching and helped found the NAACP. Yet, she still isn’t the household name that many other historic women are, particularly in non-Black households, so I’m glad that the folks at Barbie chose to include her in their series, available from retailers like Amazon and Target starting January 17.
Best of all, a portion of profits helps fund writing and publishing programs for high school-aged girls and gender-expansive young adults who are inspired to follow in Ida B. Wells’s footsteps.
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As for the Ida B. Wells Barbie itself, she’s not as Malibu-idealized as their traditional Barbie dolls, but they do render Ms. Wells as very symmetrical and slender. Like she just went through several Snapchat filters. This seem to be true across the Inspiring Women Series, despite the fact that the actual women had a broad range of body types and facial features.
I do wish Barbie put a little more effort into reflecting these women’s own true faces and bodies, the way they stay true to details like including a copy of the newspaper Ms. Wells co-owned inside the box.
Still, I think it’s a terrific step forward for Barbie, and for a whole lot of kids — and adults — this will make a really meaningful gift.