Monday, 20 November, 2017

Mattel announces Ibtihaj Muhammad doll, the first Barbie to wear a hijab

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Stacy Diaz | 14 November, 2017, 01:54

During last year's 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first American Olympian to compete while wearing a hijab.

"This is such a big moment, not just for me, but for little girls everywhere", Muhammad explained to Glamour.

A view of the Ibtihaj Muhammad Barbie on display during Glamour Celebrates 2017 Women Of The Year Live Summit at Brooklyn Museum on November 13, 2017 in New York City.

About Glamour: Glamour is one of the biggest fashion and beauty media brands in the world, now reaching an all-time high of one out of eight American women, with 9.7 million print readers, more than 11 million unique monthly users online, and over 14 million followers across social media platforms. Muhammad was presented this doll by last year's Shero, body activist and model, Ashley Graham. As a brand, Mattel has recently taken major steps to create a vast selection of dolls that represent women of all backgrounds and experiences.

"Barbie is celebrating Ibtihaj not only for her accolades as an Olympian, but for embracing what makes her stand out", Vice President of Global Marketing for Barbie Sejal Shah Miller said in a press release.

On its website, Mattel said the new Barbie is "inspiration for countless little girls who never saw themselves represented in sports and culture", adding it hopes the doll "shows girls they can be anything". That's just another reason that she is a ideal choice for the Shero Barbie honor.

Mohammad knows how significant this is, because like many children of color who grew up before Barbie was as diversified as it is today, it was hard to find an array of brown and black dolls. "When I think about my own journey, me being a Muslim girl involved in the sport of fencing, there were people who made me fee like I didn't belong", she said on her visit to the Mattel factory. But in those early days, Muhammad didn't have Barbies that wore a headscarf, so she would sew on her own hijabs with her sisters.

The company was created in recent years to promote "inclusion, tolerance and diversity through exposure" to Muslim fashion.

Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad is quite a doll - literally. But this is more than a special-edition doll: It's the first-ever Barbie to wear a hijab, which makes it a crucial win for inclusivity and representation.

Muhammad got to tour the Mattel factory to see how her Barbie doll is made.