New Barbies include athlete Ibtihaj Muhammad, Frida Kahlo
NEW YORK: US toymaker Mattel on Wednesday unveiled a new line of Barbie dolls based on accomplished women that include US snowboarder Chloe Kim, Australian conservationist Bindi Irwin, and Mexican artist Frida Kahlo.
The toymaker announced the new dolls ahead of International Woman’s Day on Thursday.
Most of the new dolls are based on living women such as Chinese volleyball champion Hui Ruoqi, French chef Helene Darroze, and British boxing champion Nicola Adams.
Another line dubbed “Inspiring Women” is based on historic celebrities such as pioneer aviatrix Amelia Earhart and African-American mathematician Katherine Johnson, made popular by the 2016 Hollywood movie “Hidden Figures.”
The new dolls however keep the unrealistically thin and lean proportions of a classic Barbie doll.
Mattel’s Barbie, for decades a blonde white doll, began in recent years to diversify its line in order to boost sales.
In early 2016, the California-based company launched Barbie versions in three different body shapes — tall, petite and curvy — and in seven different skin tones.
In December 2017, Mattel launched a Barbie doll based on US Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, an American of Muslim faith who competes with a hijab head cover.
This diversification has allowed Barbie to be one of Mattel’s few successful toy lines, showing a nine percent growth in the fourth quarter of 2017 in a year that the company’s global sales dropped by 10.5 percent.