Inspiration Report

32353643692_74f8f4d210_zBarbie has been an astronaut, explorer, athlete and Madam President for years. Now, this classic doll is going to be modeled after real-life women. Mattel’s new line is called “Inspiring Women” and will be filled with Barbie dolls that resemble female role models such as Amelia Earhart and Katherine Johnson. These dolls will be sold in toy stores, but Mattel does not have a precise date for when these inspiring dolls will hit the shelves.

Mattel sees the creation of these dolls as a natural extension of the brand that has had Barbie in dozens of male dominated careers from NASA to politics. “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,” said Lisa McKnight, the senior vice president and general manager of Barbie. “Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything.”

The new “Inspiring Women” line currently includes Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo and Katherine Johnson. Earhart was the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, Kahlo was known for her unique painting style and feminist activism and Johnson shattered barriers through her work at NASA. Johnson was one of the black women who worked at NASA and calculated dozens of trajectories including the flight of the famous Apollo 11 moon landing. Johnson worked closely with Mattel to ensure that her Barbie resembled her as closely as possible.

Barbie has a second line based on real women as well. The “Shero” line honors 14 modern women who recently broke boundaries in their fields. The current line-up includes “Wonder Woman” director Patty Jenkins, Australian wildlife conservationist Bindi Irwin, Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, ballerina Misty Copeland, Olympic gold-medalist Gabby Douglas, Olympic boxing champion Nicola Adams, Polish journalist Martyna Wojciechowska and Chinese ballerina Yuan Yuan Tan. Unfortunately, the “Shero” line is not set to be mass-produced or sold in stores, unlike the “Inspiring Women” line. The more popular dolls from the “Shero” line, however, have made it to toy stores in the past.

The “Inspiring Women” line has received some criticism for not giving dolls based on real people realistic proportions. Proponents of the dolls have responded that the dolls are mass produced and made to be sold in toy stores. By giving them the typically exaggerated proportions of most Barbie dolls, the “Inspiring Women” dolls will be able to wear normal Barbie clothes and thus have a greater reach. They will be played with by young girls looking for role models instead of sitting on an adult collector’s shelf.

The “Inspiring Women” line was announced just in time for International Women’s Day and has already garnered a lot of attention. The dolls will come with educational information about the woman they represent and hopefully let Barbie continue to inspire girls everywhere to follow their dreams.

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