Bright Spot: Mattel introduces inclusive line of Barbies

Toy maker Mattel is taking another step to diversify its dolls, offering Barbie and Ken with a variety of skin tones, body types and disabilities.
Published: Sep. 28, 2022 at 5:53 PM EDT
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(WFSB) - Toy maker Mattel is taking another step to diversify its dolls, offering Barbie and Ken with a variety of skin tones, body types and disabilities.

The move is helping kids see themselves in a new light.

Until recently 17-year-old James Stewart hid from the world. “I used to wear jumpers down there, hoods up...I loved COVID with the face mask because it wouldn’t show my face.”

James has Vitiligo, a condition that affects the pigment in his skin.

He grew up with it, making him the target of bullies. “I felt quite left out because my hair was turning gray and my skin was changing color, so I couldn’t be like every other kid.”

But his shame turned to fame when toy maker Mattel rolled out their new Ken doll with Vitiligo.

“You can’t be alone with this doll,” says James, “I think it’s brilliant.

Mattel’s fashionista line is Barbie’s most diverse and inclusive yet with more than 175 looks. Those looks include dolls in wheelchairs or even with prosthetic limbs.

The new Barbie gave six-year-old Eliza her debut on British television. She has severe hearing loss and wears pink hearing aids, just like her Barbie. “It gives hope to families like ours that our children are going to be included into the world,” said Lorenza, Eliza’s mother.

Turns out Mattel consulted with hearing experts to accurately portray the hearing aids.

James says if he had this doll when he was 11, it would have made him feel on top of the world, especially his confidence and happiness.

Now, these little dolls that are different, are making a big different in these children’s lives.