• GAYA Magazine

Barbie wears a hijab!



Courtesy Mattel

I remember growing up with a whole dollhouse of Barbie dolls. I even had the Barbie home set, pool set, Corvette, horse and the handsome Ken doll to accompany her to all her fashion shows and glamorous events. Yes, that's what went through my mind as a child. haha!

As I grew older, I couldn't help but feel like my childhood Barbie pretend-world in some way or another shaped my view of the world and in particular, a woman's place in the world. She needed her Ken to be on her arm, she needed the biggest and most beautiful ballgown, she needed the tiara, the horse, the corvette - basically she needed to be tall, thin, beautiful and have a handsome man by her side to be successful. (What a weird child, I was. Thank God, I grew out of it. LOL!)

Sadly we're not all like that. As little girls growing up in the 80's, these Barbie dolls didn't look like many of us - blond hair, blue eyes, skinny, with legs for days. As little girls growing up, the toys we play with or are exposed to, do in some shape or form, make us the women we are today.

Thankfully, the toy industry has begun to see that and in the years that followed, Mattel started introducing more all-rounded Barbie dolls. From the doctor Barbie, to the vet Barbie - they started showing little girls that they can be anything they want to be. Barbie now comes in different skin tones, hair types, body shapes, even eye shapes! Yey for inclusion.

And today we say hello to the first hijab-wearing Barbie doll! And in what better form that in the name and image of US fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.


PC: Instagram @IbtihajMuhammad

In 2016, Ibtihaj Mohammad became the first American Olympian to wear a headscarf while competing. This broke the stereotype and made us sit back in awe. *imagine a ray of light shining down from above, doves flying...lol*

"We are so excited to honour @IbtihajMuhammad with a one-of-a-kind #Barbie doll! Ibtihaj continues to inspire women and girls everywhere to break boundaries," Mattel wrote on its social media accounts, accompanied by a photo of Ibtihaj holding the doll. The doll, part of the Mattel's "Sheroes" collection, is dressed in fencing gear as well as the hijab, and will be on sale online from 2018.

For all the years, many of us have been trying to break the boundaries/stereotype, it's great to see stride in that movement. And with this, it drives many of us to do more. What an inspiration, Ibtihaj is.

And think about it, little girls today can now hold a Barbie doll that is proud to wear a hijab and more so, in a fencing uniform - proving once again that girls can do anything they put their minds too. She doesn't need to conform to society's standards.


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