Conservationist Bindi Irwin, boxing champion Nicola Adams and ‘Wonder Women’ director Patty Jenkins are just a few of the “modern-day” dolls that Barbie has created. Others include Olympic snowboarder Chloe Kim, French chef Hélène Darroze and Chinese actress Xiaotong Guan.
The Mattel brand has also turned aviator Amelia Earhart, artist Frida Kahlo and mathematician Katherine Johnson into dolls, all of which are part of its new ‘Inspiring Women’ line that Barbie says will honor trailblazing women. According to Barbie, the historical dolls come with educational information about each woman and the contributions they made to society.
"As a brand that inspires the limitless potential in girls, Barbie will be honoring its largest line up of role models timed to International Women's Day because we know that you can't be what you can't see," said Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and general manager of Barbie, in a statement. "Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything."
The brand has launched a campaign called ‘#MoreRoleModels’ to coincide with International Women’s Day and its launch of the dolls. Created by BBDO San Francisco, one of the films features young girls explaining why it’s important for them to have female coders, civil engineers, chief executives and head chefs to look up to since these career paths are dominated by males.
Another film features professional ballerina Misty Copeland, Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, gymnastics champ Gabby Douglas and model Ashley Graham, all of whom have had Barbie dolls made in their likeness in the past.
The rollout is Barbie’s latest attempt to shed its superficial image, a process that began a few years back when the brand began making dolls with different skin tones, eye colors and body shapes. In 2015, the brand introduced its ‘Imagine the Possibilites’ campaign, which featured young girls using Barbies to act out what they want to be when they grow up.