Barbie’s newest additions to her Fashionistas line include dolls with conditions meant to diversify the type of people they see and interact with.
WASHINGTON — Toy giant Mattel has announced its latest additions to Barbie’s inclusive and diverse line of Fashionistas dolls, including a doll who wears hearing aids behind her ear.
In a statement, Mattel said its Barbie brand is working to introduce more dolls that include a wider range of skin tones, body types and disabilities than children see in the world around them.
Two other standout dolls in her latest line include a Ken doll with vitiligo, a condition that results in patches of discolored skin, and a doll with a prosthetic leg. Mattel said the dolls will be available for purchase on Amazon or at Walmart and Target starting in June.
“It’s important that kids see themselves reflected in the product and encourage play with dolls that don’t look like them to help them understand and celebrate the importance of inclusion,” said Lisa McKnight, Vice President Executive and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls.
According to Mattel, Barbie partnered with Dr. Jen Richardson, an educational audiologist and hearing loss advocate, to accurately portray a doll wearing hearing aids.
“I am thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll that looks just like them,” Richardson said in a statement.
First released in 2009, Barbie’s Fashionista line of dolls was created to represent a wider range of colors and features dolls with a wide range of sizes, colors and abilities.
Previous dolls that Barbie has introduced include both a Ken and Barbie doll using a wheelchair. According to Mattel, Ken doll using a wheelchair was one of the most popular dolls in the world in 2021.
The Barbie brand has previously been criticized for presenting an unrealistic and idealistic portrayal of women and feminine traits.