First hijab-wearing Barbie launched inspired by Olympic fencer
The first hijab-wearing Barbie doll has been released to honour an American fencer who became the first US woman to wear the Islamic headscarf while competing at the Olympics.
The face of the doll has been modelled on Ibtihaj Muhammad, who won a bronze medal in Rio last year.
She says the doll is a “childhood dream come true”.
The company which makes the dolls has in the past been criticised for making them too thin and overly sexualised.
Now the maker Mattel says it is planning to release a range of new figures next year modelled on inspirational women.
- Barbie out of fashion as Mattel slumps
- Muslim woman ‘touched’ by anonymous gift
- How does ‘Curvy Barbie’ compare with an average woman?
The Barbie doll was unveiled at Glamour’s Women of the Year summit.
“When I think about my own journey, me being a Muslim girl involved in the sport of fencing, there were people who made me feel like I didn’t belong,” Muhammad said.
“For all those people who didn’t believe in me, this Barbie doll is for you.”
The New Jersey athlete used to make tiny hijabs as a child out of tissues to wrap around the heads of her Barbie dolls so they would look more like her and her sisters.
The Barbie designed in her likeness has full fencing gear, including a mask and sabre, wears training shoes and has a hijab around her head.
Muhammad said she hoped the doll would inspire girls “to embrace what makes them unique.”
“Today I’m proud to know that little girls who wear hijab and, just as powerfully, those who don’t can play with a Barbie who chooses to wear a headscarf,” she said.
“She’s a Barbie who is strong enough to wield a giant sabre and dedicated enough to spend years working her way to an Olympic medal.”