We’re a long way from the first Barbie doll in 1959. She was clad in a one-piece bathing suit, hugging a Jessica Rabbit hourglass figure–the desired body of the day, curated by a corset. Despite her perfect body, Barbie looked dissatisfied and carried a blasé bearing. The trends would change the next year and the year after that but the mission was always the same: represent the Western beauty standard of the day. Her clothes were different but her face never changed; the dolls that were supposed to represent all women were carbon copies.
Even when Mattel ventured to create the first black Barbie in 1980, there was no facial variety. That Barbie doll bore the same features as her counterparts, just with tan skin. Sold to children everywhere, these dolls left them aspiring to be the impossible. However, if Barbie today is any indication of media perception and evolution, things are certainly changing.
In honor of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, Mattel has released three dolls for their “Inspiring Women” collection. While the company hasn’t said when, the dolls will be mass produced and sold in stores, HuffPost reports. If you were unable to get those Gabby Douglas and Ava DuVernay dolls, this might be your chance.
The collection includes the likes of Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson and Frida Kahlo. The women come from different walks of life and were selected due to their influence. Earhart was the first female pilot to soar across the Atlantic Ocean, Johnson was a NASA Mathematician, and Kahlo – who just had a street named after her – was a post-revolutionary feminist artist. This set of dolls have the variety that was once missing. While Kahlo’s doll is not entirely representative of her, Johnson worked with Mattel to see to it that the doll looked like her.
In addition, Barbie’s “Shero” line focuses on life fulfillment, career potential and equalizing. Lisa McKnight, the Senior Vice President and General Manager of Barbie said on Tuesday, “As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honoring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women’s Day, because we know that you can’t be what you can’t see.” Outside of racial and regional representation across the board, the collection will appeal to a drive for achievement.
The Shero collection will honor 14 global, contemporary role models with dolls such as snowboarding champion Chloe Kim, boxing champion Nicola Adams and prima ballerina Yuan Yuan Tan. These dolls are not meant to be sold. But sometimes they end up on shelves — so look out.
Check out the latest additions here.