Barbie has been an important part of the toy fashion doll market for over fifty years and has been the subject of numerous controversies often involving parodies of the doll and her appearance. The first Barbie was created by businesswoman, Ruth Handler in 1959. Fast forward to today, the doll brand will be launching dolls to honour female sports role models ahead of International Women’s Day which is commemorated on the 8th of March.
The new dolls will be presented by the Barbie Dream Gap Project which focuses on raising awareness around factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential. British Sprint world champion, Dina Asher-Smith said she was proud to have her own Barbie as the toy brand announced a line-up of dolls to honour female sportswomen.“When I was told they wanted to do this I honestly screamed, jumped up and down and ran around my house. Growing up, sportswomen were less visible in the media and there is still a gap when it comes to women’s sports, which is why representation is so important,” she said.
Asher-Smith won the 200 metres gold at last year’s world championships in Doha and was one of several sports stars to be recognised as a role model. She hopes little girls will see her doll and be inspired to take up and enjoy sports. She went onto twitter to share the exciting news.”So it’s finally out. Barbie has made me into a one-of-a-kind Shero doll. When I was told they wanted to do this I honestly screamed, jumped up and down and ran around my house,” she said.
Lisa McKnight, Global head of dolls at Barbie said the aim was to shine a spotlight on “powerful, diverse role models” ahead of International Women’s Day. Furthermore, Heather Smith, Associate Head of Innovation at Women in Sport, highlighted that too many girls were missing out on the physical and mental benefits of sport. “Sport and physical activity is a fantastic way to build girls’ confidence and resilience, helping them become healthy and happy young women,” she said.
French women’s football captain Amandine Henry and Ukraine’s fencing world champion Olga Kharlan also have dolls.