With long blonde hair, stick thin limbs, perky breast and made of plastic, Barbie is often thought of as representing only one ideal of beauty. However, in recent years this has all changed.
This week Mattel, the company that makes the popular toy, have released their new collection of dolls which have broadened the diversity of its range, including one with the skin condition vitiligo and one with no hair.
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Vitiligo is a skin condition which causes skin to loose its pigment in patches. When Mattel posted an image of the prototype doll to their Instagram account it became their most liked post ever. The range also includes a Ken doll with long, rooted hair.
The doll makers said in a statement that they want to showcase “a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion" by adding the new dolls to it’s Barbie Fashionistas line. About the doll with no hair Mattel said: "If a girl is experiencing hair loss for any reason, she can see herself reflected in the line."
This follows last year's addition of two Barbies, one in a wheelchair and one with a prosthetic leg. But the brand have expanded their range of dolls with prosthetic limbs by also adding another one this year.
Mattel created the doll with a prosthetic limb in collaboration with disability activist Jordan Reeves who was born with out a forearm and at the time was just 12 years old. Barbie’s 2019 Fashionistas line was the first time they had included a doll in a wheelchair, but they have bought it back in this range because it was so popular, as well as some of the other models.
Mattel have incorporated more diversity since beginning the Barbie Fashionista range in 2015, having created more than 170 diverse dolls including different skin colours, hairstyles and clothing. For instance in 2017 they released a hijab wearing Barbie.
Lisa McKnight, global head of Barbie said: "We are proud that Barbie is the most diverse doll line on the market that continues to evolve to better reflect the world girls see around them”.
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Many on Twitter were thrilled with the range with one saying: “Heeeyy! That's pretty sweet. I've had #vitiligo since I was little, and no one knew what it was. In recent years, I've seen high fashion models with it, and now this.. very cool.”
Another wrote: “I was diagnosed with Alopecia Areata when I was 7 and even though I'm not currently experiencing symptoms, I'm glad to see @Barbie representing!”
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