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Move Over, Malibu Barbie: Mattel Launches Kick-Ass Role Model Line

Photograph by Mattel

I loved my Barbie dolls desperately as a child, but they totally gave me a complex. Where was my tiny waist and giant rack? And why didn’t I live in a dream house? Let’s face it, early Barbie was an unattainable material girl, the kind I ran from in high school.

But over the past few years, Mattel has been changing with the times in admirable ways, introducing Barbies with diverse skin tones and body types. Now, in time for International Women’s Day on March 8, they’ve announced an amazing new line of dolls that celebrate inspiring women from around the world, past and present.

With 14 new "Shero" dolls (as in "she" + "hero") and three Inspiring Women dolls, Barbie play time is about to get a lot more exciting!

Soon, little girls will be able to fly across the Atlantic with Amelia Earhart, paint like Frida Kahlo and even shred the halfpipe with a snowboarding Barbie that looks just like 17-year-old Olympian Chloe Kim, complete with miniature gold medal. "I'm so honored to be considered a role model and want girls to know that they can be athletic and girly at the same time," Chloe Kim told Teen Vogue.

Throughout Barbie’s history, girls have always used her to role-play their hopes and dreams for adulthood. For me, that meant lots of bathtub pool parties with Ken. But Mattel’s goal is to inspire girls to dream bigger.

With 14 new "Shero" dolls (as in "she" + "hero") and three Inspiring Women dolls, Barbie play time is about to get a lot more exciting!

"We are thrilled to shine a light on real-life role models to remind [girls] that they can be anything," said Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and general manager at Barbie, in an official statement.

Now, not only can little girls pretend to be Wonder Woman, they can also imagine themselves as Patty Jenkins, the great female filmmaker who directed the "Wonder Woman" movie. (Her doll comes with a hand-held camera!)

Young animal lovers will surely be intrigued by the Bindi Irwin doll, based on the 18-year-old wildlife conservationist.

And, remember Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician memorably portrayed by Taraji P. Henson in the movie "Hidden Figures"? Well, her figure won’t be hidden any longer, now that she’s got her own doll, complete with NASA ID badge.

These diverse dolls celebrate a variety of potential career paths and achievements, and come packaged with educational information to help spark imaginative play. A few of the dolls are available for pre-sale now, but you can follow Barbie on social media with the hashtag #MoreRoleModels to find out about the rest.

Moms, we’re lucky to be raising our kids during such an exciting time of female empowerment. When I was growing up, you were lucky if you could find a biography on Florence Nightingale. Today, the book "Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls," featuring mini bios of inspiring famous women, is a bestseller that just spawned a sequel. Thanks to these new Barbies, we’ve now got the action figures to help play out the rebel girls' stories.

As they say, if you can see it, you can be it. And now, little girls can play it, too.

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