Mattel have launched a range of six new Barbie dolls including one with the skin condition vitiligo, another with no hair, and a doll with a prosthetic leg. Their aim is to better reflect today’s world and society through encouraging body positivity.
Over the past few years, Mattel have incorporated a range of new dolls into their Barbie collection to be more diverse and inclusive. They now have nine body types, 35 skin tones and over 90 different hairstyles. Even Barbie’s commented on the new dolls using her official Instagram account, saying, “What makes us different makes us beautiful!”
These updates to Mattel’s Barbie range show just how much vitiligo and other conditions have become far more recognised in recent years, and it’s an important step to celebrating an inclusive, diverse society where everyone feels accounted for! Mattel’s top 10 bestselling Barbie dolls last year, from their Fashionista range, included a doll in a wheelchair and a doll with an Afro hairstyle.
Vitiligo advocate Joti told us more about just how important the vitiligo Barbie is as a step towards spreading awareness of the condition, which is slowly becoming more and more recognised in the media and all over the world.
As Joti says in the video, “This is going to empower the young people of today and allow them to become more accepting, and to normalise this whole thing about people with disabilities and visual differences… I think, as a mother and a teacher that this is going to have a big, positive impact on young people today. Essentially, children learn through play, and when they’re learning through play, they’re getting an understanding of what things are about… when children are playing with Barbie dolls, it just becomes normal to them. A doll in a wheelchair becomes normal to them. And as they grow up, they start getting a better understanding that everybody might be different to them, but it’s OK!”
I know only too well how different having vitiligo can make you feel, but introducing the vitiligo Barbie doll into the collection of Barbie toys is such a huge step and will help a wide range of children with skin conditions feel more included and raise awareness of disabilities and people with visual differences like vitiligo.
Founder of VITILIGLOW®