[December 2017] Barbie introduces new collection of ‘Sheroes’ dolls

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Roxy Augeri’20 & Allie D’Angelo ’20

For millions of girls around the world, Mattel’s “Barbie” products are ever present throughout their childhood and beyond. Ever since the doll’s reveal in 1959, Mattel has released various versions of Barbie, including different outfits for specific events.

In 2015, in a partnership with Glamour magazine, Mattel released its first ever “Sheroes” line: honoring women who have worked their way up to defy the standards of others and make the world a better place, according to the Barbie website.

Mattel describes their sheroes as “extraordinary role models.”
Mattel first introduced the “Sheroes” line with the release of six new Barbies. The dolls were recreated after Ava DuVernay, director of the Academy Award best picture nominee “Selma”; Golden Globe nominated actress Emmy Rossum; Eva Chen, Editor-in-Chief of fashion magazine Lucky; Broadway actress Kristin Chenoweth; Sydney Keiser, five-year-old fashion designer who has collaborated with J. Crew; and Food Network host Trisha Yearwood.

Mattel released this line to provide a variety of dolls to contrast the more traditional Barbies with an “optimal” physique, which include body proportions that are unachievable, feet crafted to forever wear high heels, permanent makeup and beauty enhancements. Mattel has come under fire for their lack of diversity in ethnicity, body shape and career paths that are available for little girls to look up to.

Tatiana Bicalho ’21 agrees with the company’s attempt to reach more girls. “It’s nice to see that they’re spreading awareness about different body types and ethnicities,” Bicalho said. “They are taking into account more people. Everyone looks different so it is nice that they are taking that into consideration.”

Mattel has also released a one-of-a-kind doll resembling ballerina Misty Copeland, plus-size model Ashley Graham and Olympic gold medalist Gabby Douglas, who represented America in the 2012 and 2016 Olympics.

This year, Mattel announced the release of their first hijab wearing barbie, created after U.S. Olympic fencer, Ibtihaj Muhammad. Muhammad is the first Muslim woman to represent the U.S. in the Olympics while wearing the hijab.

At the Glamour Woman of the Year Summit on Nov. 13, Muhammad revealed her doll filled with excitement. “Barbie dolls always allowed my sisters and I to play out different adventures with our big imaginations,” Muhammad said at the summit. “My mom wanted us to play with dolls that looked like us, so she would only buy us Barbies of color. This is the way we could see and celebrate our beauty for brown skin even as conventional standards of beauty of what we saw in the media raconteur to that.”

Muhammad also expressed her approval for Mattel to represent girls who wear headscarves and create a Barbie that resembles their appearance.

Jake Trock ’20 approves of Mattel’s new line, explaining how it will connect with a broader demographic. “The girls will be able to identify more with themselves,” Trock said. “[They will] see themselves inside the characters, opposed to the traditional Barbies.”