Image Source: Barbie Twitter
Growing up in the 90s, I didn’t have a ton of Disney princesses or Barbie dolls that looked like me – I’m Mexican-American. The closest Disney character was Esmeralda from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and she was a gypsy, not a princess. There was Barbie’s friend Teresa, but she was hard to find in stores and didn’t have the same aspirational job options as Barbie. So yeah, not a lot of “role model” depictions for me to look up to.
I think I turned out okay anyways, but it would have been nice to see some more positive, diverse women portrayals on the store shelves and on the screens. So I’m kind of jealous of this younger generation of girls that have Barbies such as the “Shero” collection that launched in 2015, which includes dolls honoring model Ashley Graham, Selma director Ava DuVernay and Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, to name a few.
With everything going on in the world for girls and women right now, it’s not surprising that “86% of moms surveyed are worried about the kind of role models their daughters are exposed to.” So in addition to inducting snowboarder Chloe Kim, Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins, and Chef Hélène Darroze to the Shero 2018 honorees, Barbie also launched the “Inspiring Women” line on International Women’s Day last week.
These “Inspiring Women” dolls celebrate the achievements made by Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson (the subject of the film Hidden Figures) and Frida Kahlo, who I was obviously the most excited to see as she’s an iconic Mexican figure who challenged gender and class norms of her time – even if there was some controversy with her likeness being used.
Here’s to #MoreRoleModels and more depictions of accomplished and culturally diverse women. Even though I’m nowhere near the time of my life for having a kid, I at least have the comfort of knowing that I can easily find a doll for my hypothetical daughter that is not only just a toy, but also a way to learn about some women who helped to pave the way for generations to come.
Video Source: Barbie YouTube
Posted by Christina V.