Barbie is getting a hijab! And I think that’s wonderful news.
When I read the story about Ibtihaj Muhammad, American Olympian fencer, being honored with a Barbie doll in her likeness, I immediately knew I had to share the story on the blog. I think it’s very important to create toys which highlight our beautiful, diverse culture.
Unfortunately, I saw a lot of negative comments on Twitter about Muhammad’s new hijab-wearing Barbie. It really upset me. When will people stop showing so much hate toward one another?
I’m not even going to repeat the ugly comments I saw because giving them any sort of recognition is not worth it. Instead, I’m choosing to respond in a positive way and share why as a Christian woman, I am very excited Ibtihaj Muhammad has a Barbie doll.
Mattel Honors Ibtihaj Muhammad with a Barbie Shero Doll
Mattel honored Ibtihaj Muhammad with a one-of-a-kind doll in her likeness as part of their Barbie Shero collection. The Barbie Shero program recognizes women who break boundaries to inspire the next generation of girls.
In a press release, Muhammad said:
“Through playing with Barbie, I was able to imagine and dream about who I could become.
“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.”
Muhammad’s doll was unveiled at the Glamour Women of the Year LIVE Summit in Brooklyn, New York. Last year’s Shero, activist and model Ashley Graham, presented Muhammad with the Barbie Shero doll. You can watch the video of how Ibtihaj Muhammad’s Barbie Shero was made and its unveiling here. I smiled the entire time I watched the video. 🙂
“When my children see a head covering or a hijab, they see beauty and strength. Having a hijab-wearing Barbie will strengthen my children’s positive view of women who cover their hair— no matter the person’s religion.”
Who is Ibtihaj Muhammad?
Just in case you aren’t familiar with Ibtihaj Muhammad— Muhammad is a sabre fencer for the United States fencing team. She is the first Muslim American to wear a hijab while competing for Team USA at the 2016 Summer Olympics. One of her accolades includes being selected as TIME magazine’s “100 Most Influential People” of 2016.
She also launched her own clothing line, Louella, when she noticed a gap in the fashion industry. Muhammad designs “new, fresh, and vibrant looks” for the modest fashion industry.
Women Who Have Been Honored with a Barbie Shero Doll
Sydney “Mayhem” Keiser
Cultural Representation in Toys Matter
Although I am not Muslim, I do wear a head covering for religious reasons. I am a head covering Christian— something that is not very common in the Christian community. There are, though, a good number of Christian women who wear head coverings. There are also Orthodox Jewish women who wear head coverings. Therefore, I think Muhammad’s new Barbie doll will be a doll that many head covering women and young children can appreciate.
And I say children instead of “girls” because I believe the Barbie Shero collection can also have a positive influence on boys. It can teach boys that women are also extraordinary role models and women can achieve many great accomplishments. When boys see more positive images of women in toys, I think, this will also encourage them to have a great respect for women.
I know for me— as a mother and a head covering Christian— it makes me very happy to see Ibtihaj Muhammad’s Barbie Shero doll because my own children can see a positive representation of head covering women. Zhen (5), for instance, loves my head scarves and wraps. She always wants to put them on and often asks me if she can wear a head covering, too.
When my children see a head covering or a hijab, they see beauty and strength. Having a hijab-wearing Barbie will strengthen my children’s positive view of women who cover their hair— no matter the person’s religion.
You can see more images of Ibtihaj Muhammad at the Glamour Women of the Year Summit 2017 here.