Barbie got a new make-over, and we aren’t talking about her lipstick. 2016 was the year of a new barbie, a barbie that was no longer one size fits all. Mattel unveiled curvey, petite, and tall versions of its iconic fashion doll. The three body types will be sold in a variety of skin tones, eye colors and hairstyles. Although Barbie is an iconic doll, sales had declined in recent years. This was clearly a new strategy to bring in a wider demographic that had turned away from the Barbie brand. This new “body positive” Barbie landed the cover of TIMES Magazine.
Haneefah Adam, a twenty four year old blogger and medical scientist from Nigeria, took the Barbie look one step further, introducing the Hijab wearing Barbie (more so known as Hijarbie). Adam explains she wanted a doll that dressed in clothes like hers. Simple as that. Adam went to a close by store, purchased a Barbie doll and dressed it up in similar clothing as hers, and documented it from there.
Hijarbie is the first of its kind. Bridging a gap between ethnicities and an icon fashion doll. Adam hopes this will bring more positive awareness. Stating “I want her to be inspired. This is about creating an alternative and having toys that look like you, which, at the end of the day, leads to better self-esteem” (Stansfield, 2016).
Life in the 21st century can be a psychologically challenging, since it seems more and more everyday it’s about one's appearance. Fashion conscious Muslim women have taken center stage on blogging platforms, but there is more to be done.
The response to Hijarbie has been nothing but positive. Hijarbie has over 5,000 followers on social media. Adam hopes that creating hijabs and abayas could one day lead to a profitable business for Barbie.
It’s sad to say that finally in 2016, Barbie is finally getting a makeover. One that any young girl could relate to. Is this the only makeover Barbie is going to get? What about different personalities and clothing? Perhaps a punk rock or tom-boy Barbie. It shouldn’t have taken this long for the Barbie brand to recreate this skinny, white woman doll. But, Barbie’s makeover was definitely a break in the mainstream. Who knows what’s next for Barbie, maybe next is Ken.
I would say this piece read more as a sales pitch. Simply, because they are selling you on a product that anyone can relate to whether it’s you height, skin color, weight or religion. I think the writer succeeded with this piece. He was able to remove himself from his perspective and fully understand Adam’s need and want from Barbie. Ted Stansfield (the journalist) did bring insight and coverage on the new set of 2016 Barbie dolls. However, Adam didn’t see that as enough and pushed Barbie’s image further by covering religion. However, he left the reader wanting to know more on Hijarbie. It was a story waiting for an ending.