New black Barbie doll wears natural hair, uses a wheelchair: 'Representation like this is so important'

Barbie's new collection includes a black doll in a wheelchair, wearing natural hair (Credit: Twitter)
Barbie's new collection includes a black doll in a wheelchair, wearing natural hair. (Photo credit: Twitter)

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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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