In a new series of firsts for Barbie, the latest in her “most diverse and inclusive” line of dolls will include a Barbie with hearing aids and a Ken doll with vitiligo, a disease in which the skin loses its pigment cells. .
Mattel’s Global Head of Barbie Dolls, Lisa McKnight, said in a statement, “It’s important that children see themselves reflected in the product and encourage play with dolls that don’t look like them, to help them understand and to celebrate the importance of inclusion. ”
Mattel said it worked alongside Dr. Jen Richardson, an educational audiology practitioner, to accurately model behind-the-ear devices for the doll.
“I’m honored to have worked with Barbie to create the true-to-life reflection of a doll with behind-the-ear hearing aids,” Richardson said. “As an educational audiologist with over 18 years of experience advocating for hearing loss, this is inspiring to see those with hearing loss reflected in a doll.
“I am beyond thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll that looks just like them.”
The Fashionistas 2022 line, which will be released next month, will also include a Barbie with a prosthetic leg, a Barbie who uses a wheelchair, and slimmer, less muscular male dolls.
Barbie has describe her upcoming collection of 175 looks as “the most diverse and inclusive line of dolls, offering a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair colors and textures, body types, disabilities and fashions, to inspire even more stories”.
In recent years, Barbie has launched more inclusive doll lines, including one inspired by real-life women who have upended societal norms. In 2017, Barbie released a doll wearing a hijab, inspired by Ibtihaj Muhammad, a fencer who became the first American to compete and win an Olympic medal while wearing the garment.
Last year, Barbie launched a set of dolls that honored Covid workers, including vaccinologists, nurses and paramedics.
One of the dolls is inspired by Dame Sarah Gilbert, co-creator of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine.
“I’m passionate about inspiring the next generation of girls into Stem careers and hope kids who see my Barbie will realize how vital science careers are in helping the world around us,” Gilbert said. at the Guardian.
“My wish is for my doll to show kids careers they may not be aware of, like a vaccinologist.”