Barbie unveils line of inclusive dolls with disabilities


    The new line of Fashionista Barbies. (Mattel)

    LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) -- The ever-evolving Barbie has a new look. This time she's fighting stigmas surrounding physical disabilities.

    The new 2019 Barbie Fashionistas line from Mattel will feature a doll in a wheelchair and another with a prosthetic leg.

    The goal of the line, which will be released in June is to show kids a variety of representations of beauty.

    "As a brand, we can elevate the conversation around physical disabilities by including them into our fashion doll line to further showcase a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion," Mattel said in a statement.

    According to CNN, the toy manufacturer collaborated with a 13-year-old disability activist named Jordan Reeves. Reeves was born without a left forearm, so she helped them develop a doll with a removable prosthetic limb to make it more realistic.

    Mattel also recuited the help of experts at the UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital to work on the design of the wheelchair toy.

    "While there are many types of wheelchairs, this chair is modeled after one that is designed for an individual who has a permanent physical disability," Mattel continued in their statement.

    There will also be a Barbie DreamHouse-compatible ramp as part of the collection.

    Disability rights activists approve of Barbie's new look.

    It's symbolic that "a big icon of society like Barbie now demonstrates or shows that there are different types of people ... [who] can be attractive and something kids want to play with," said Curt Decker, executive director of the National Disability Rights Network.

    Decker is hoping the new Barbies will show kids there's "nothing wrong" with people with disabilities.

    "We want to see ourselves reflected in the culture, toys, products and everything around us," said Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi, president of RespectAbility. "Barbie joins a number of powerful companies who also understand that marketing, and including, people with disabilities is both the right thing to do and the profitable thing to do."

    Along with the dolls with disabilities, the 2019 Fashionistas will include Barbies with different hair textures and more realistic body types.

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