Mattel has set a new milestone for the company after releasing their first hijab-wearing Barbie, a doll modeled after an American Olympic medalist.
The new barbie was unveiled for the press on Monday at Glamour’s Women of the Year summit in New York. The inspiration for the new doll was Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, who was not only the first muslim American to compete but also to win a medal while wearing a hijab.
The hijab-wearing Barbie is part of the “Shero” line launched in 2015, which includes figures based on celebrated women like filmmaker Ava DuVernay, ballerina Misty Copeland, Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas and popular actress Zendaya.
Sejal Shal Miller, Vice President of Global Marketing for Barbie, said during the press release, “Barbie is celebrating Ibtihaj not only for her accolades as an Olympian, but for embracing what makes her stand out,”
“Ibtihaj is an inspiration to countless girls who never saw themselves represented, and by honouring her story, we hope this doll reminds them that they can be and do anything.”
Ibtihaj Muhammad made headlines worldwide when she became in 2016 the first Muslim American woman to wear a hijab while competing for the United States in the Olympics. She earned the Bronze medal as part of Team USA in the team sabre competitions in Rio.
“Ibtihaj Muhammad has challenged every stereotype — which to me is the definition of a modern American woman,” said Glamour Editor-in-Chief, Cindi Leive.
Mattel has been attempting for some years now to make their products reflect the multicultural market of today. Last year they released petite and curvy versions, and earlier this year Barbie’s boyfriend Ken also got new variants that included a man-bun Ken, and a hipster doll. Black Rim glasses and all.
The new doll can also be seen as a response to the popular tag #hijarbie which has been blowing up on Instagram lately.
Ibtihaj’s new “Shero” doll will be available in stores in 2018.
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 😭💘 #shero pic.twitter.com/py7nbtb2KD
— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) November 13, 2017