For decades, Mattel's Barbie doll has morphed with the times, gravitating away from the kitchens of patriarchal households in the '50s, to hitting the runways as fashion models and even outer space as NASA's finest. Now there's a new twist in the Barbie identity saga, with Mattel planning to roll out the dolls in the form of inspiring women figures just in time for International Women's Day, taking place today.
Mattel announced the launch of its Inspiring Women series, which will feature 17 real-life women who not only changed the world but continue to inspire subsequent generations to do the same. So far, only three women in the lineup have been announced: legendary pilot Amelia Earhart, Mexican artist and human rights activist Frida Kahlo, and mathematician Katherine Johnson, whose contributions helped put astronauts into space — a feat chronicled in the movie Hidden Figures.
The timing on the new Barbie unveiling is ideal, considering the political and social climate concerning the rights of women and the wrongdoings of various high-profile figures who violated those rights, an atrocity that toppled the likes of movie mogul Harvey Weinstein and politician Al Franken. But Mattel stated that results of a survey tipped the scales for their decision. In it, roughly 86 percent of 8,000 mothers polled internationally expressed concern over the hero worship affecting their daughters, hoping that their children would choose more ideal role models.
Mattel also continues to introduce new models of its Shero line, a series of dolls it introduced in 2015. Recent additions include snowboarder Chloe Kim, who won a bronze medal for the U.S. at the 2018 Winter Games in South Korea as well as Patty Jenkins, who directed the box office smash movie Wonder Woman. As an aside, the Wonder Woman doll itself, is reported selling well and retailing anywhere from $39.95 to $44.95.
Other female pioneers slated to be dedicated in doll form include gymnast Gabby Douglas, boxer Nicola Adams Obe, conservationist Bindi Irwin, filmmaker Ava Duvernay, model Ashley Graham and entrepreneur Leyla Piedayash.
The dolls aren't likely to hit the shelves before International Women's Day, however, but can be ordered online via Mattel's website.