I’m a Barbie Girl, Living In an Inclusive World

Mattel is setting the example for other companies with their Fashionistas line.


Last week, Mattel revealed their new collection of Barbies to make more children feel represented by the dolls they play with; the brand gained traction in the media for including a doll with hearing aids. While this isn’t their first inclusive collection, the company strives to depict any disability or health problem a child may have and release collections with jobs that kids may dream of having. 


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For decades, Barbies were viewed as perfectly proportioned and airbrushed toys that contributed to children's low self-esteem. However, Mattel has been working to correct that issue over the last five-to-seven years; the doll manufacturer has created various collections to boost a child’s confidence and make them feel more comfortable during playtime. In 2019, Mattel released their first gender-neutral Barbie that came with a variety of accessories for children to develop any look they wanted their doll to have. Then, in 2020, a collection named “Fashionistas” was released, and a doll with vitiligo was one of the more popular ones. In addition, the collection included dolls with prosthetic limbs, plus-size dolls, and dolls with varying skin tones and ethnicities as well. 


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The most recent drop, which includes the doll with hearing aids, is an extension of the Fashionistas line. Currently, there are over 35 skin tones and 94 hairstyles, including natural hair and protective styles, such as braids and twists. Even though Mattel isn’t the only company that is producing inclusive toys, they’re setting an excellent example for other companies to follow.

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