Mattel has for a while been on a real drive to make Barbie dolls more diverse and realistic, and here’s the latest result of that push: the first Barbie to wear a hijab headscarf.
Unveiled Monday, the doll was created to honor Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first U.S. Olympic athlete to compete wearing the Muslim headgear—she won bronze as part of the U.S. sabre team at last year’s Rio Olympics. It’s part of the Barbie “Shero” (female hero) line, which also includes stars such as Ava DuVernay and Kristin Chenoweth.
“I had so many moments as an athlete, where I didn’t feel included, where I was often in spaces where there was a lack of representation. So to be in this moment, as a U.S. Olympian, to have Mattel, such a global brand, diversify their toy line to include a Barbie doll that wears a hijab is very moving to me,” Muhammad said Monday night, as reported by AP.
Muhammad’s doll has a sabre and fencing uniform, athletic legs, and even her style of eyeliner. Regarding the hijab, she told PeopleStyle that it was particularly “revolutionary for Barbie to take a stand in this moment that we’re in.”
Indeed, Mattel’s move comes at a time when the U.S. administration has taken steps that are seen as hostile to Muslim people, not least banning visitors from Muslim-majority countries.
The hijab headscarf is worn by many Muslim women to conform with the religion’s views on female modesty. Others go further, covering the whole face.
Mattel’s Ibtihaj Muhammad Barbie doll will go on sale next fall.