Barbie announced on Tuesday the release of 6 new gender-inclusive dolls, including a doll with no hair and a doll with the skin condition vitiligo.
The release comes after a push by Mattel, Barbie’s parent company, to add more inclusivity to their doll lines. Recently Barbie has also come to include dolls with wheelchairs and prosthetic limbs. Mattel also launched a gender-neutral doll line in December.
Of their gender-neutral doll line, Kim Culmone, Senior Vice President of Mattel Fashion Doll Design said,
“Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels. Through research, we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms. This line allows all kids to express themselves freely which is why it resonates so strongly with them. We’re hopeful Creatable World will encourage people to think more broadly about how all kids can benefit from doll play.”
This new doll line continues the ideals put forth by Mattel about inclusivity and making sure all kids can express themselves with dolls if they want to.
The Importance of Inclusivity
Inclusive dolls may seem like a small step, but dolls shape the way young people view themselves and the world around them. Having a doll that looks like you when you’re young can be a gateway to self-acceptance and self-confidence. Every child deserves to feel beautiful in their own skin.
Breanne Rice, former model and TV personality, said of Barbie’s new dolls,
“It took me a very long time to feel comfortable and confident in my own skin, and as a woman with vitiligo, this makes me so happy! I think there is so much pressure now to fit into unrealistic expectations of what we think “beauty” is. Beauty comes in all different shapes, sizes, and skin tones. It should be celebrated. Everyone deserves to feel beautiful and confident in their own skin and embrace who they are-whatever that may look like. I love that Barbie is helping shift beauty stereotypes and I think it will really help young kids who are struggling to feel confident in their own skin feel loved and supported”
Rice has spoken out on her experience as a woman in the public eye with vitiligo. In a society where physical beauty is placed at a premium, it can leave many of us wondering if we fit into the current standard of beauty and whether any difference in skin, hair, or body, makes us the outsider. Dolls like these allow more people, especially young people, to feel comfortable with themselves and who they are. Let’s hope this is another move toward an overall shift in beauty stereotypes and remember that we are all beautiful in our own skin.