Who knew dolls could create such an impact? This past week, toy history was made when the first Muslim female medalist Ibtihaj Muhammad had her own Barbie ― also the first Barbie wearing a Hijab. With that being said, with Barbie being the world’s most popular doll, it is important that it has a positive and inclusive influence.
Barbie has previously carried a bad reputation for only carrying unproportioned blonde dolls, which sent the wrong message to young girls. Now, the Mattel product has included more shapes, sizes, colors, occupations, and even religions. It’s so crucial for each girl to see herself in the doll. Join us as we walk down memory lane and see how our favorite childhood toy has influenced future girl bosses.
MODEL BARBIE (1959)
This list wouldn’t be complete without the original. Ruth Handler wanted to break away from tradition and create a more fashionable alternative to the typical doll. Thus, the “Model Barbie” made its debut on March 9, 1959, at New York City’s American Toy Fair.
ASTRONAUT BARBIE (1965)
If a man can space travel, so can a woman. Even in the early years, Barbie proved to young girls that they have the ability to reach for the stars. Since her astronaut debut, Barbie has broken the glass ceiling as a doctor, police officer, computer engineer, and rockstar.
During a less inclusive era, the first African American doll was introduced almost 10 years after the original Barbie’s debut. Christie was perfectly in line with the late 60’s style with a fabulously groovy mod style.
The first Latina Barbie made her debut in the late 80s as “California Dream Teresa”. Alongside with Christie and Barbie, the three formed the signature girl squad.
BARBIE FOR PRESIDENT (1992)
Barbie ran for US President in 1992, again proving that girls should aspire to chase their dreams.
BOB MACKIE (1990)
Barbie’s first fashion designer collaboration was with the glitzy and glam designer Bob Mackie. Her dress featured over 5,000 handsewn gold sequins. Christian Dior, Ralph Lauren, Zuhair Murad, Givenchy, and other designers followed along with Barbie collaborations, thus allowing the doll to be more of a collector’s item for women than simply a toy for young girls.
Helping young girls with cancer cope as well as feel beautiful, Barbie’s friend Ella was distributed directly to children’s hospitals.
PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT BARBIE (2016)
From Presidential candidate in 1992 to finally winning in 2016. She comes complete with an equally fabulous Vice President by her side.
Barbie made a comeback last year and included three new body types: petite, curvy, and tall. The collection also included seven skin tones, 22 eye colors, and 24 hairstyles. “These new dolls represent a line that is more reflective of the world girls see around them,” stated Evelyn Mazzocco, Barbie’s global manager.
IBTIHAJ MUHAMMAD (2017)
The first hijab-wearing Barbie was modeled after Ibtihaj Muhammad who made history as the first American to compete in the Olympics while wearing a hijab. The announcement was made at Glamour‘s “Woman of the Year” summit, and Muhammad graciously followed it by tweeting that it was a “childhood dream come true”.