Pittsburgh nonprofit Hello Hijab has also been making doll-sized headscarves for Barbie and friends.
Inclusion looks good on you, Barbie.
Mattel revealed its first hijab-wearing Barbie at the Glamour Women of the Year summit on Monday, modeled after Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammed, 31, the first American woman to compete in the Games sporting the headscarf worn in public by some Muslim women.
“I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true,” she tweeted.
Thank you @Mattel for announcing me as the newest member of the @Barbie #Shero family! I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true 😭💘 #shero pic.twitter.com/py7nbtb2KD
— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) November 13, 2017
Muhammed’s history-making figure is the latest honoree in the Barbie “Shero” program launched in 2015 that celebrates the real women breaking boundaries and shattering glass ceilings to inspire the next generation of girls, including Olympic gymnastics champion Gabby Douglas, and body activist fashion model Ashley Graham.
“Barbie is celebrating Ibtihaj not only for her accolades as an Olympian, but for embracing what makes her stand out,” said Sejal Shah Miller, Vice President of Global Marketing for Barbie, in a statement. “Ibtihaj is an inspiration to countless girls who never saw themselves represented, and by honoring her story, we hope this doll reminds them that they can be and do anything.”
Muhammad was named one of Time’s 100 Most Influential People in 2016, and has launched her own Louella fashion line of modest – yet still stylish – dresses, jumpsuits, maxi cardigans and skirts.
“Through playing with Barbie, I was able to imagine and dream about who I could become,” Muhammad told Glamour. “I love that my relationship with Barbie has come full circle, and now I have my own doll wearing a hijab that the next generation of girls can use to play out their own dreams.” The doll will be available in 2018, and Shero Barbies run $24.99 to $29.99.
While this is the first Barbie to come packaged wearing a headscarf, a small Pittsburgh nonprofit has already been crafting hijabs for children to put on their dolls.
For Good hopes that by encouraging tolerance of the cultures that wear headscarves during playtime, this acceptance will spread from Toyland to the real world.
“A hijab is the traditional covering for the hair and neck that is worn in public by some Muslim women,” For Good cofounders Gisele Fetterman and Kristen Michaels explain on their website. “Hello Hijab believes that while we may look different and have different beliefs, our similarities far outweigh our differences. We strive for a world where we all live and love together.”
The group’s $6 handmade “Hello Hijab” went on sale in the U.S. on April 1, with all proceeds benefiting nonprofits supporting local organizations working toward human rights and diversity work. Many of the tiny hijabs are even recycled from headscarves donated by Muslim women who also want a better future for their daughters.
Muslim Americans have long been been targeted by hate crimes and anti-Islam rhetoric, which the Pew Research Center reported spiked to 9/11-era levels last year. Women wearing headscarves have been especially vulnerable, so For Good hopes that Hello Hijab will normalize religious wear. Barbie is still Barbie, whether she covers her head with a hijab or a hat.
“During these tense and very charged times, this concept might sound naive — and maybe it is,” the nonprofit organizers added. “But we believe that there has never been a better time to reach out and do something positive for someone else.”
This article was originally published March 20th, and has been updated with the new Barbie.
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