Barbie has traditionally been under fire for imposing false beauty standards, but almost six decades after they started off, the doll company is being celebrated for its careful attention to diversity and inclusion.
On Feb. 11, Mattel announced a new member of Barbie’s “Barbie Fashionista” line — a doll in a wheelchair. A representative from Mattel tells Yahoo Lifestyle that a doll with a wheelchair accessory is one of the most requested items from Barbie fans, and within this line, there are now two options to choose from.
With the products just hitting shelves next week, people are expressing how they absolutely love the new additions and took to Twitter to talk about them.
One user Tweeted about how happy she is that young children today will be able to see themselves in Barbie’s collection and posted a photo of a doll, seated in an everyday-use wheelchair. Another replied, pointing out that she isn’t “merely a Barbie in a wheelchair,” but is a black Barbie, too. The doll sports natural hair, jeans and a striped t-shirt.
There isn’t merely a Barbie in a wheelchair.
THERE IS A BLACK BARBIE IN A WHEELCHAIR.
I REPEAT, SIS IS BLACK!!!! 💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾💃🏾 https://t.co/I9FcGdG1UV
— Crutches THEE Spice ♿️ (@Imani_Barbarin) June 28, 2019
One person discussed how well thought out the doll is because she isn’t in a traditionally thought of, hospital-style wheelchair, but has one that doesn’t have handles.
And it’s not a hospital style chair, either! (seeing as most wheelchairs are shown having handles even though many people have chairs without them)
— Jackie (@xxxSouthpaw) June 28, 2019
Others, tired of the Barbie collections’ traditional straight, blonde hair were excited that the new doll wears natural hair. “I like how they kept the natural curls rather than straight hair,” one person commented.
And she has natural hair! Hell yeah!
— AwkyAmby (@AwkyAmby) June 28, 2019
I like how they kept the natural curls rather than straight hair. Curls are beautiful!
— Philippa Barraclough (@PhilippaB) June 28, 2019
People were excited over how the doll represents them and others. In one comment, a person pointed out that the doll looks like her 6-year-old niece, who has limited mobility and is a person of color.
I’m soooo excited!! I’m buying this for my niece... She has CP/ limited mobility & is POC.... the Barbie seriously looks like her! She’s also totally obsessed with barbies right now and it’s almost 6...
— Naomi Schmahl #forsama (@SchmahlNaomi) June 28, 2019
Dude like representation like this is so important. I saw a Barbie in target a while ago that like was short and had a similar body type to me and it made me really happy. I’m so glad Barbie is doing this so more girls can see themselves with the doll and be like “hey that’s me!”
— alondra 💕 @ μ’sic forever!! (@constarlations) June 28, 2019
While many people were excited about the new member to the Barbie family, some pointed out that a previous version of Barbie in a wheelchair didn’t fit through the infamous “Dreamhouse” doors.
There was a Barbie in a wheelchair back in the 90s and her wheelchair infamously didn't fit through the Dreamhouse doors. Hopefully this one is more accessible ❤️
— Scarlett Harris (@ScarlettEHarris) June 28, 2019
They stopped making the og Barbie that uses a wheelchair in 2000, her chair didn’t fit in the dream house but I’m so glad she’s back now.
— Angel Powell (@AngelBrittanyxo) June 28, 2019
However, this time around, people won’t have the same problem. “The product comes with a ramp to make the play as seamless as possible with current offerings, including the Dreamhouse,” Mattel says to Yahoo Lifestyle. “The wheelchair does not fit with every Barbie accessory currently, but will moving forward.”
The representative added that the team tried to make sure the wheelchair was as realistic as possible. They collaborated with partners at UCLA Mattel Children’s hospital and wheelchair experts to create a toy that is “modeled after a real, rigid frame wheelchair.” The doll sold with the wheelchair also has an articulated body, so she can easily fit in the wheelchair.
The new doll can be purchased here, starting next month.
Representatives from Barbie did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
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