A bald Barbie? Ken with long hair? New Mattel dolls reflect diversity

Photographer Paul Jordan
Stylist Jen Hoon

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Photographer Paul Jordan
Stylist Jen Hoon

If you’re a little girl with a prosthetic limb, alopecia or the skin condition vitiligo, there’s now a Barbie doll that looks just like you.

The 2020 additions to Mattel’s Barbie Fashionistas line are the company’s latest nod to making sure its dolls reflect more of society’s diversity.

While a doll with a prosthetic limb debuted last year, this year’s version will have a darker complexion. Another new addition has no hair. And even Ken has gotten an updated look, sporting long locks instead of his signature, short, sculpted coif.

“We’ve been committed to increasing diversity in our line and showcasing all the different types of beauty that exist … making the line more accessible,” says Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and global head of Barbie and its dolls portfolio.

More inclusiveness in the toy aisle 

Barbie was once criticized by some observers for promoting a narrow, unrealistic ideal of what is beautiful. But the brand has been on a diversity push over the last five years, unveiling dolls with an array of skin tones, hair textures, body sizes and facial structures.

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