Barbie, the American doll manufacturer, announced it will release a new set of dolls as part of its ongoing efforts toward diversity and inclusion — starting with its first doll that wears hearing aids in June.
Barbie announced the addition of new dolls to the 2022’s Fashionista collection. The line includes the first Barbie with ear hearing aids, a Ken doll with vitiligo, and a doll with a prosthetic leg.
The collection aims to “reflect the diversity kids see in the world around them,” Mattel Executive Vice President Lisa McKnight said in a statement. To accurately represent behind-the-ear hearing aids, Mattel worked with an audiologist, Dr. Jen Richardson.
“As an educational audiologist with over 18 years of experience working in hearing loss advocacy, it’s inspiring to see those who experience hearing loss reflected in a doll,” Richardson said in a statement. “I’m beyond thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll who looks like them.”
“The collection now boasts over 175 dolls, including a “variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair colors and textures, body types, disabilities, and fashions.” according to a news release.
McKnight said the dolls are for all children — even those who may not have the specific life experiences represented by the dolls.
“It’s important for kids to see themselves reflected in the product and to encourage play with dolls that don’t resemble them to help them understand and celebrate the importance of inclusion,” McKnight continued.