Mattel reveals 17 new Barbie dolls based on role models for International Women’s Day

To celebrate International Women’s Day tomorrow, Mattel previewed two new waves of Barbie dolls intended to inspire and educate kids.  Hinted at as forthcoming in the recent Netflix series The Toys That Made Us, the dolls celebrate three real-life heroines of the past in its entirely new “Inspiring Women” line, and 14 new women of the present have been designed as additions to Mattel’s “Shero” line.  The dolls aim to follow the vision behind the original toys’ creator, Ruth Handler, who once said, “My whole philosophy of Barbie was that, through the doll, the little girl could be anything she wanted to be.  Barbie always represented the fact that a woman has choices.”

The women reflected in the new dolls include heroines of the past: aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, artist Frida Kahlo, and NASA mathematician and physicist Katherine Johnson.  The 14 new heroines of the present include conservationist and animal rights activist Bindi Irwin, journalist and Seven Summits mountain climber Martyna Wojciechowska, designers Leyla Piedayesh and Vicky Martin Berrocal, athletes Chloe Kim, Çağla Kubat, Nicola Adams, Lorena Ochoa, Hui Ruoqi, and Sara Gama, Chef Héllène Darroze, movie director Patty Jenkins, ballerina Yuan Yuan Tan, and actor Xiaotong Guan.  The new line of Shero dolls adds to the line-up that began in 2015 and already includes actors Emmy Rossum and Kristin Chenoweth, journalist Eva Chen, ballerina Misty Copeland, singer Trisha Yearwood, movie director Ava Duvernay, gymnastics Olympian Gabby Douglas and fencing Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammed, and model Ashley Graham.  Only Douglas, Muhammed, and Graham were made available in wide release, making this new release of 14 figures the first truly expansive Barbie line inspired by real people.

Twelve of the 14 new figures include Vicky Martin Berrocal, Xiaotong Guan, Bindi Irwin, Sara Gama, Chloe Kim, Martyna Wojciechowska, Nicola Adams, Yuan Yuan Tan, Patty Jenkins, Hélène Darroze, Hui Ruoqi, and Leyla Piedayesh. Not shown: Çağla Kubat and Lorena Ochoa.

The dolls feature a broad array of clothing, accessories, hairstyles, size, skintone, and head sculpt detail.  The international selection of new dolls features representatives from Australia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Poland, Spain, Turkey, and the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Perhaps not surprisingly, dolls for the athletes include the distinctive brand name logos the athletes are affiliated with, including Jeep, Nike, and Citi Bank.  Who do you think should be added to the Barbie line-up next?

Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson, and Frida Kahlo from the Inspiring Women line of Mattel Barbie dolls available later in 2018.

Other new Barbie dolls available this year from Mattel are from the world of fantasy and include Justice League Mera, new Tomb Raider Lara Croft, and from A Wrinkle in Time, Mrs. Who, Mrs. Which, and Mrs. Whatsit.

Omitted from Mattel’s marketing photo: the new doll for golfer Lorena Ochoa, and windsurfer Çağla Kubat holds her doll at an event in Turkey.

Mattel reports that consumers can expect to see the first wave of Inspiring Women dolls and new Shero dolls available later this year.  Get more information and detailed close-ups of the dolls at the Mattel Barbie website here.

C.J. Bunce

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