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Hijabi Doll Makes Barbie History

Sonia Rao, Opinion Editor

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For many years, the word “Barbie” created an image of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed, thin-waisted doll that created and then pandered to stereotypes of young girls.  Recently, Barbie has had a revolution among the type of dolls the company likes to produce, thanks to the creation of a “Sheroes” line that features dolls based on real-world female heroes such as Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, plus-size model Ashley Graham, director Ava Duvernay, ballerina Misty Copeland, and actress Zendaya Coleman, to name a few.  These dolls focus on diversity and inclusion in order to inspire young girls to break boundaries and expand their possibilities. The most recent addition to this line is Ibtihaj Muhammad, an American fencer who became the first woman to wear the Islamic headscarf while competing at the Olympics. Muhammad’s doll is the first doll to wear a hijab in Barbie-history.  

The creation of this doll is important because it allows young hijab-wearing girls to see themselves represented in a way that they had previously never been able to.  Ibtihaj Muhammad even described making tiny hijabs out of tissues to wrap around the heads of her Barbie dolls as a young girl so they would look more like her and her sisters.  In addition to wearing a hijab, the doll is also clothed in full fencing gear, with a mask, sabre, and training shoes, hopefully inspiring girls to pursue characteristics such as the strength and determination it takes to become an Olympic athlete.  

Representation is especially important at young ages when children are beginning to learn more about themselves and the world.  It is necessary that kids are able to see versions of themselves reflected in the world around them, so that they may have role models they are able to look up to and aspire to be like.  Muhammad hopes the doll will inspire girls to “embrace what makes them unique.” Hopefully Barbie will continue on this trend to make sure every girl feels represented at a young age.  

Barbie, Mattel
The other “sheroes” in Barbie’s line.

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The Official Student News of Green Hope High School
Hijabi Doll Makes Barbie History