Mattel has announced that it will be adding 17 new Barbie dolls to its lineup. The new Barbies will be based on a mix of modern role-models and historical figures, and will feature boundary-breaking women from diverse backgrounds and fields.
Lisa McKnight, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Barbie, stated via a press release: "As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honoring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women's Day because we know that you can't be what you can't see. Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything."
You can’t be what you can’t see? Really? That didn’t stop Barack Obama from thinking himself a deity. Muhammed Ali informed us that “he can’t hit what he can’t see,” referring to his pugilist foes, but I thought a person could be anything he or she could dream of being.
The new line will include such modern role-models as Olympic Gold-medalist snowboarder Chloe Kim, “Wonder Woman” filmmaker Patty Jenkins, and boxing champion Nicola Adams. Historical Barbies, part of the “Inspiring Women” series, are modeled after artist Frida Kahlo, NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, and famed pilot Amelia Earhart.
Other women represented in the series are: conservationist Bindi Irwin, windsurfer Çağla Kubat, chef Hélène Darroze, volleyball champion Hui Ruoqi, designer Leyla Piedayesh, pro golfer Lorena Ochoa, journalist Martyna Wojciechowska, soccer player Sara Gama, actress Xiaotong Guan, prima ballerina Yuan Tan and designer Vicky Martin Berrocal.
A YouTube video features some of the women with their dolls, as part of the #MoreRoleModels campaign. A caption attached to the video states in part “…believing they can be anything is just the beginning, actually seeing that they can makes all the difference.”
Judging by their comments, it appears the girls are quite proud of their dolls. For example, Nicola Adams tweeted: “Proud to partner with @Barbie this #InternationalWomensDay to show girls – YOU CAN BE ANYTHING!” (Including a man, now! “Introducing the new Barbie & Ken Doll. All the parts in a single doll package! Just snap ‘em on and snap ‘em off. Convenient and versatile! 63 genders in one!”).
Mattel has not announced when the dolls will be available in stores, but the three “Inspiring Women” historical Barbies can be pre-ordered online for $29.99.
I’m thrilled to see the introduction of this new series of Barbies, but surely (Shirley?) this is just the beginning! Mattel has only revealed the tip of the diversity and inclusion iceberg. Inevitably, there will soon be a polyamorous Barbie, a public-assistance Barbie, and a Valley Girl Barbie. Mattel is based in California, after all.
Which means there will also soon be a Nancy Pelosi Barbie (says “President Bush” when you tap her knee!) and a Maxine Waters Barbie (incessantly spouts “Impeach 45!”). Ms. McKnight is right, the possibilities are endless. Undoubtedly, the company will soon offer dolls based on other iconic female figures like porn star Jenna Jameson, eugenicist and Planned Parenthood progenitor Margaret Sanger, and serial prevaricator Hillary Clinton.
The “Inspiring Women” series should quickly be expanded to include dolls representing Mary Tudor (Bloody Mary), Catherine de Medici (a.k.a. the “Black Widow”), Ranavalona I, and Ameila Dyer (look them up). There should be room for the likes of Patty Hearst, and Tamika Mallory, the Louis Farrakhan-admiring Women’s March leader, as well. The Tamika Mallory doll could be packaged complete with inane signage and “pussy hat!”
(Also see my post of 6/28/2017, “Mattel Introducing Fifteen New Ken Dolls!”)