For over 60 years, Mattel’s Barbie has been considered one of the most iconic toys for kids. And the doll just got a little more relatable, thanks to the debut of a new diverse lineup. The new 2022 Fashionista dolls, which debuted this week and will be available to purchase in June, include the first Barbie with behind-the-ear hearing aids, a doll with a prosthetic leg, a Ken doll who has vitiligo and dolls with a variety of body types.
On Instagram, alongside a photo with the new lineup, Mattel’s caption reads: “Ready to make waves? Dip into new #Barbie Fashion Dolls – our most diverse and inclusive doll line, offering a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair colors and textures, body types, disabilities, and fashions, to inspire even more stories.”
Commenters have since applauded the move. “SO ready!” one Instagram user wrote. “Love them. When inclusion is mixed with Barbie fashion, magic happens!”
Another noted, “THANK YOU for understanding the importance of representation. My daughter is so excited that there will finally be a Barbie that has hearing aids like her.”
In designing the new lineup — especially the Barbie with hearing aids — the toymaker was clearly committed to getting the details right. For instance, for the Barbie who sports visible hearing aids, the brand worked alongside educational audiologist and hearing loss advocate Dr. Jen Richardson.
In a press release, Richardson noted, “I’m honored to have worked with Barbie to create an accurate reflection of a doll with behind-the-ear hearing aids. As an educational audiologist with over 18 years of experience working in hearing loss advocacy, it’s inspiring to see those who experience hearing loss reflected in a doll.”
Meanwhile, the Ken doll with vitiligo — a condition in which the skin loses its pigment cells – comes on the heels of a 2020 release of a Barbie with vitiligo. The lineup also includes a doll with a prosthetic leg and new dolls in a variety of body types including a curvier figure.
No matter which doll in the line a child chooses, there’s no doubt that they’ll hugely benefit from, as Richardson says, being able “to see and play with a doll who looks like them.”