New Barbie dolls feature vitiligo and hairless models in bid to boost diversity
The maker of Barbie dolls has released new designs to broaden the diversity of its range, including a doll with no hair and one with the skin condition vitiligo.
Mattel, the company behind the popular toy, said in a statement that the brand wants to showcase “a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion” through new additions to its Barbie Fashionistas line.
Viitiligo causes patches of skin to lose their pigment. Mattel said in a statement that a prototype of the vitiligo toy, which debuted on the Barbie Instagram page last year, became its most “liked” post ever.
Speaking of the Barbie with no hair, the company said: “If a girl is experiencing hair loss for any reason, she can see herself reflected in the line.”
Last year, a doll with a prosthetic leg and another with a wheelchair joined the Fashionistas range.
The company has expanded its range of dolls with prosthetic limbs, adding another model this year to its collection.
To create its first doll with a prosthetic limb, Mattel worked with Jordan Reeves, a disability activist then aged 12, who was born without a left forearm.
Other dolls in the 2019 Fashionistas line offered a variety of appearances, including braided hair texture and more realistic body types (smaller bust, less defined waist and more defined arms).
Mattel has incorporated more diversity in its Barbie range by offering dolls with different skin shades, eye colors, hairstyles and clothing. In 2017, the company introduced the first Barbie to wear a hijab.
The two bestselling Barbie Fashionista dolls in the UK last year were in wheelchairs, the company said.
After starting in 2015, the Barbie Fashionistas line now has more than 170 “diverse dolls” in its range. Previously, Barbie dolls have drawn criticism for upholding a slim, white, domestic ideal.