Barbie, the 63-year-old American doll manufacturer, will release a new collection of dolls in June as part of its latest efforts toward diversity and inclusion. The new lineup of dolls will include the very first-time Barbie with behind-the-ear hearing aids, a doll with a prosthetic leg and a Ken doll with vitiligo, a condition where the skin loses its pigment cells.
The 2022's Fashionista lineup will be launched in Walmart, Target, and Amazon to help children "see themselves reflected," Mattel's Global Head of Barbie Dolls, Lisa McKnight, told media.
She added that kids should be encouraged to play with dolls that don't resemble them to make them "understand and celebrate the importance of inclusion," NDTV reported.
Further, Ms Mcknight stated that the company sought the expertise of Dr Jen Richardson, a leading practitioner in educational audiology for making Barbie with hearing aids, in a bid to help accurately imitate behind-the-ear devices for the toy.
'Will Inspire People With Hearing Loss'
Dr Richardson said that the ponytailed doll, complete with a pink hearing aid, could inspire people who have experienced hearing loss.
"I'm delighted for my young patients to see and play with a Barbie who looks like them," she said, according to CNN.
Barbies With Varied Body Types
Commenting about the new collection, the company has informed that the changes have been made to the stereotypical Barbie body type, too. The dolls will be available in curvy, petite and tall forms, and Ken dolls will contain narrow features and broad shoulders.
From smaller chests, fuller figures and slender bodies to less-muscular male dolls, the new toys are intended to be more representative of varied body types.
Moreover, the hair on the figurines also varies in colour, style and texture, with man buns, a bald look, cornrows and a rainbow hairstyle as options.
Barbie's range of dolls has become increasingly diverse in the past years. In 2019, the company released a blue-eyed, blonde doll in a wheelchair and a brunette barbie with a prosthetic leg. In 2020, it also unveiled a Black Barbie with the skin condition vitiligo. In 2021, a Black doll with an afro hairstyle was also released.