The Mattel line will feature a doll with a prosthetic leg, a doll with vitiligo, and one with behind-the-ear hearing aids to increase representation and inclusivity.
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Fashionista Barbie Line With Dolls Of Different Abilities And Body Types
Credit: Mattel

Barbie's ring of inclusion is about to get a little bigger.

Mattel has announced their 2022 Fashionista line, which will include new dolls with previously-ignored features such as vitiligo and hearing loss. There will also be characters with prosthetic limbs and curvier, more realistic body types. The company minces no words in their latest press release, explaining that the new dolls are continuing towards the brand's goal of "continuing its journey to represent global diversity and inclusivity in the fashion doll aisle."

Diverse Ken Dolls
Credit: Mattel

Of course, whenever something like this is released, there is skepticism. After all, many (rightfully) argue, shouldn't representation have been the goal from the offset?

If I may offer a perspective, as a Black woman who had maybe two dolls who looked like me growing up: I think the answer is a resounding "Yes, but…"

There's no doubt that many of us weren't able to find true representation in our media, our toys, and our heroes as children. Many also aren't incorrect in saying that it shouldn't have taken this long to see change; however, we are seeing change, and that's what's important.

I personally feel that, while much of the resentment we harbor at a lack of representation growing up is valid, it's also worth noting when an effort is being made. Mattel has often been a company at the forefront when it comes to leaps forward in inclusion, and they don't go halfway with it. An educational audiologist, Dr. Jen Richardson, was brought in to ensure accuracy when modeling this upcoming doll's behind-the-ears-hearing aids, for example. This kind of care counts for something, because it will make a difference to those it represents.

That's what it all comes down to. As parents, we all want better for our children than what we had. We all, deep down, want to raise kinder, more empathetic human beings, and part of getting there is helping our kids be able to see themselves in ways we may not have been able to. Being able to see themselves in the things that bring them joy is a huge, world-moving way to do that.

So instead of worrying about why, or when, let's be excited for our kids and for the leap forward.

It's a win for them, so it's a win for us.

The Fashionista line drops in June, and will be available for $9.99 on Amazon, and at Target and Walmart.