Barbie gets even more inclusive as new dolls feature disabilities


Mattel has come out with a new range of Barbies, including one who uses a wheelchair and one with a prosthetic leg.

For the last 60 years, Barbie has been a regular part of our lives. And while she may have started out as a disproportionate doll representing white women, over the years she has begun to morph into a more reflective representation of the world.

Yes, there are still the white, blonde Barbies that many of us grew up with, but now there are also dolls that are curvy or skinny, black or white, brunette or redhead. There have been Barbie dolls to represent famous faces and important women in our history. And now Mattel has announced something new to add to the ever-growing line of inclusiveness that Barbie is trying to promote.

On February 11, Mattel announced that their Fashionista line of dolls will also include new body types, disabilities, and even braided hair textures. However, it is the disabilities aspect that we are excited about it, as this means we will finally see Barbie in a wheelchair or with a prosthetic leg.

Over the last few years, Mattel has been working to expand their offerings of Barbie to be more inclusive, but these latest additions are in direct response to what consumers want. Kim Culmone, vice president of Barbie design at Mattel, explained that “a wheelchair or doll in a wheelchair was one of the most requested items” they received through their hotline.

It’s important to note that Mattel included a very special someone to help in the creative process for these dolls —  Jordan Reeves. Reeves has worked with other companies such as American Doll to create accessories for dolls that were representative of real people with health problems. Her work to promote inclusion for people with disabilities led to Mattel bringing Reeves on to help them with designing a Barbie with a prosthetic leg.

For Mattel to offer new Barbies that have disabilities shows their fans that not only are they listening, but they’re ready to make changes to give them what they want.

Seeing a Barbie that looks like you or has similar traits to you can be a big deal for many people. It allows us to feel like we are not alone or the only one in the world dealing with things. Studies have even shown that playing with a doll that actually represents you can have an influence on you in a positive way. And that means having Mattel expand their line to include dolls with disabilities can only be a positive thing.

Six decades ago when Barbie was first introduced, I don’t know if people could have ever imagined seeing the fashionista doll in a wheelchair or with a prosthetic leg. But now that she is on her way, we can’t wait to see what else Mattel has in store for us as they continue their push for inclusiveness.

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What do you think of the news that Barbie is going to be in a wheelchair? Tell us what you think of the new additions to the Barbie family in the comments.