Barbie. A brand we all know, love and no doubt many of us grew up with.
But Mattel has recently caused a lot of controversy with the release of a new range of female icon Barbies, in time for International Women’s Day. These include women such as Nicola Adams, Amelia Earhart and Bindi Irwin.
When I broached this subject in the office, there were quite clearly 2 sides to that people came down on. Around 20% were unhappy about these role models being made into a “perfect” doll, and 80% that think this is refreshing and exciting to see.
Personally, I’m with the 80%.
Barbie’s target audience is 3-5-year olds. Now, if I was shopping with my little one and they picked up a Nicola Adams Barbie, I would be excited to tell them about Nicola and her achievements. And if, further down the line this helped provide the inspiration to take up a sport – brilliant! If they looked at Amelia Earhart on the shelf in the local Smyths Toys and learnt about the background and history of the first female pilot - wouldn’t that be amazing?
So, what’s so wrong about getting these amazing and inspiring women into our children’s lives in a way they can relate to, visualise and idolise?
There’s an argument that the dolls aren’t a true representation of the amazing people they represent. And that’s true. They haven’t detailed every single hair, muscle or mark on their bodies and as ever, Barbie remains heavily stylised and clearly a ‘Barbie’ but regardless of this, if it brings these people into little ones lives giving them a chance to learn more about true female icons – I’m personally very happy about it.
If my child said they wanted to be the next Chloe Kim or Nicola Adams, rather than the next reality TV star, I would be very proud. So thanks Barbie for doing something slightly different to educate and inspire the next generation!
86% of moms surveyed are worried about the kind of role models their daughters are exposed to.* That's why Barbie continues to showcase examples of inspirational women. From Sheroes to Inspiring Women, meet our latest Barbie role models–all extraordinary women we've honored with a doll in their likeness.