Barbie is getting a decked out new hijabi friend.
Next fall, children around the world can get their hands on their own Barbie version of the American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad — the first female Muslim American to win a medal in the Olympic games.
Mattel, the manufacturer of Barbie, is rolling out its latest doll as part of their “Shero” line, which showcases female heroines who’ve shattered stigmas, surpassed boundaries or acted as role models.
We are so excited to honor @IbtihajMuhammad with a one-of-a-kind #Barbie doll! Ibtihaj continues to inspire women and girls everywhere to break boundaries. #Shero#YouCanBeAnything#GlamourWOTYpic.twitter.com/oV0e6ClgL6
— Barbie (@Barbie) November 13, 2017
The Olympian pretty much ticks all those boxes, being the first American to compete at the Olympiad in a hijab.
Since then, she’s been a strong advocate for amplifying Black and Muslim voices in the wake of a Trump presidency.
‘We’re not all the negative things that you think’
“People are painting us, as African Americans, in a poor light, painting us as Muslims in a terrible light and it is up to us to show people … we’re not all the negative things that you think we are,” she told HuffPost in an interview in August.
Becoming a new face of Barbie is sure to reshape the conversation.
Muhammad gushed in a tweet saying that she was “proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab.”
Thank you @Mattel for announcing me as the newest member of the @Barbie#Shero family! I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true 😭💘 #sheropic.twitter.com/py7nbtb2KD
— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) November 13, 2017
Muhammad killed it at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics, where she earned her bronze medal as part of Team Sabre for Team USA.
“When I think about my own journey, me being a Muslim girl involved in the sport of fencing, there were people who made me feel like I didn’t belong,” she said, according to Glamour magazine. “For all those people who didn’t believe in me, this Barbie doll is for you.”
As the newest member of the “Shero” line, she joins the ranks of other Barbie-inspired dolls, such as fashion model and body-positivity advocate Ashley Graham.
— Ashley Graham (@theashleygraham) November 15, 2016
In 2015, the Barbie “Shero” doll that was inspired by “Selma” director Ava DuVernay sold out within minutes of getting on the shelves.
The next year, just before the 2016 Olympics, Barbie unveiled its doll version of U.S. gymnast and gold medalist Gabby Douglas.
Based on the growing popularity of Muhammad in the past several years, it stands to reason that her doll will sell out quickly too.
Keen observers might notice that the hijab isn’t the only thing setting hers apart from a regular Barbie doll. Muhammad also added her own touch on the way the doll ultimately turned out.
“There was so much about the doll that was important to me,” she said at the Glamour Women of the Year gala in New York on Monday night.
“I know as a kid I was bullied for having larger legs, and sport taught me to embrace my body and to love my body and the strength that it could produce,” she said.
“I think that having strong legs helped me win a medal at the Olympic Games, so I wanted my [doll’s] legs to be larger, more athletic legs, toned legs.”
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Author: Jeremiah Rodriguez