Mattel has made great strides in making Barbie dolls more accessible and diverse, so that children can feel seen and represented. Barbie’s Inspiring Women series has resulted in Wimbledon champion Billie Jean King, writer and civil rights activist Dr. Maya Angelou, and celebrated British conservationist Dr. Jane Goodall receiving their own dolls. Now, Mattel has launched its very first hearing-impaired Barbie doll, complete with her own hearing aid.
Eastenders actor and Strictly Come Dancing 2021 winner Rose Ayling-Ellis, who uses a hearing aid herself, unveiled the new doll, as she launched the “Rose, Barbie, and Friends” campaign. The 27-year-old wrote: “When I was little, I would draw hearing aids onto my Barbie dolls to make them look like me. Now, deaf children don’t have to!”
“To celebrate this moment of representation, I took part in a photoshoot along with models that also have some of the differences you now see in the Barbie line. I’m so happy that children can see even more inclusion in toys now.” Ayling-Ellis received immense love and support on the campaign post. Love Island 2022 finalist Tasha Ghouri, who wears a cochlear implant, reshared the post on her Instagram story with the caption: “Rose, you look beautiful.”
The new Barbie collection also showcases three other diverse toys: a Ken doll with vitiligo, a Barbie with a prosthetic limb, and a Barbie doll in a wheelchair, all of which are available to purchase across the UK.
“It’s important for kids to see themselves reflected in product and to encourage play with dolls that don’t resemble them to help them understand and celebrate the importance of inclusion,” said Lisa McKnight, the Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls at the company. Mattel also consulted experts in the design and curation of each doll to ensure accurate representation.