You Can’t Be What You Can’t See
Women who played with Barbie dolls when they were young want something different for their children in our world of modern sensibilities. Instead of buying dolls with good looks and comely figures, they want dolls that emphasize brain power and amazing accomplishments. Parents want dolls that can serve as role models. They prefer inspirational figures, people who have “made their dent on the universe”, to be the ones to inhabit their doll houses and spark their imaginations.
Mattel, the creator of Barbie, recently released a new line of Barbies, the Inspiring Women™ Series, based on historic women just in time for International Women’s Day. The new dolls were created after Mattel conducted a survey of 8,000 mothers around the world and found that 86% are worried about the kind of role models their daughters are exposed to.
Lisa McKnight, the senior vice president and general manager of Barbie, announced: “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.”
The first three historic women made into Barbies – Frida Kahlo, Amelia Earhart, and Katherine Johnson – have each changed the world in their own unique way. Mexican artist Frida Kahlo is remembered for her unique painting style and her feminist activism. Amelia Earhart was the first female aviator to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. Katherine Johnson, who was portrayed in the 2016 film Hidden Figures, calculated dozens of trajectories for NASA, including the 1969 Apollo 11 Flight to the moon. Johnson paved the way for black women to enter the field of mathematics. Every doll comes with educational information about the contributions each woman made to society.
Although the “Inspiring Women” series only has three dolls so far, it will grow with the release of new dolls, said Marissa Beck, spokeswoman for Mattel. “The Inspiring Women™ Series pays tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules, and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before.”
The new Inspiring Women™ Series has already proven popular as parents preordered them in order to be the first to receive them. One reviewer wrote:
“My Amelia Earhart Barbie just arrived, and I’m incredibly impressed. It’s not an ornate doll, because that would simply not make sense for this historic figure, but that details that are present are perfect. From the fur collar of her bomber jacket to the route dotted on her map to her aviator glasses and helmet, this Barbie successfully adapted the historic images of Amelia Earhart into a Barbie mold. The face looks like Amelia Earhart with a Barbie twist and is really well-done.”
Which historic women would you like to be seen made into dolls? Let us know in the comments below.