If you’re looking to start celebrating Women’s History Month a little early, Mattel’s latest announcement may be the playful homage you seek. As part of the brand’s Inspiring Women collection, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Jean King, and Florence Nightingale Barbies are here for a new generation of kids to learn about the iconic women. Adults who are kids at heart are also encouraged to enjoy the collection.
The Barbie Inspiring Women series debuted in 2018 with a line of dolls dedicated to honoring role models of the past as well as women paving a path for the future. Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson, and Frida Kahlo have each had dolls made as part of the collection. In addition to their likeness, each doll features authentic clothing and accessories specific to the person they are honoring. U.S. Olympian Chloe Kim’s doll came with a snowboard and Katherine Johnson’s came with a NASA badge. Each doll also includes educational information about each honoree’s history and accolades so kids can learn and play at the same time.
In Aug. 2019, Sally Ride and Rosa Parks Barbies joined the Inspiring Women collection with dolls honors the aerospace pioneer and civil rights activists. In other words, Ella, Billie, and Florence are going to be in great company.
Mattel isn’t kidding when they say the Barbie dolls are made in each woman’s likeness. The three new dolls look like shrunken down miniatures of the women they’re honoring. Billie Jean King’s Barbie doll is wearing her iconic two-tone blue and mint-green tennis dress, round-frame glasses, and blue tennis shoes. She also, of course, comes with a Wilson racket and tennis ball. Have Billie Jean King Barbie keep you company while watching the movie “Battle Of The Sexes.”
The Ella Fitzgerald doll features a “curvy body type” according to a press release from Mattel. (Though the body type language is clunky and perhaps a little questionable, it’s reassuring to know that the doll won’t be made to fit the unrealistic dimensions of your standard Barbie doll. “Body positive” Barbies have been in the works in 2016.) The Ella doll wears a shimmery, deep purple gown, an elegant up-do, and pearlescent brooch. She comes with a vintage microphone and is best enjoyed while listening to the First Lady of Song’s rendition of “Dream a Little Dream of Me."
Finally, the Florence Nightingale doll comes in a 19th-century nurse’s uniform. She also dons a nurse’s cap, apron, a lamp, and a sash printed with “Scutari Hospital,” where the founder of modern nursing worked during the Crimean War. Brush up on your history with doll while reading Florence Nightingale’s “Notes on Nursing.”
The new dolls and the Inspiring Women collection as a whole are part of the Barbie Dream Gap Project. As an emailed statement from Mattel explains, the project is “a multi-year global initiative to raise awareness around limiting factors that prevent girls from reaching their full potential, by showing girls more role models (historical & present) and telling their stories.” All three new dolls are available via Target, Walmart, Amazon, and Barbie.com for $29.99 each.
If you’re hoping the toymaker with pay homage to your favorite historical figure, you’re in luck. As an emailed press release to Bustle states, Barbie and Mattel plan on partnering with more global role models this year.