WASHINGTON — Toy giant Mattel has announced its newest additions to Barbie's inclusive and diverse Fashionistas doll line, including a doll that wears behind-the-ear hearing aids.
In a statement, Mattel said that its Barbie brand has been working to introduce more dolls that include a wider-range of skin tones, body types and disabilities that children see in the world around them.
Two other noteworthy dolls in its latest lineup include a Ken doll with vitiligo, a condition that results in patches of discolored skin, and a doll with a prosthetic leg. Mattel said the dolls will be available for purchase on Amazon or at Walmart and Target starting in June.
"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, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie and Dolls.
According to Mattel, Barbie partnered with leading educational audiologist and hearing loss advocate Dr. Jen Richardson to accurately depict a doll wearing hearing aids.
"I'm beyond thrilled for my young patients to see and play with a doll who looks like them," Richardson said in a statement.
First launched in 2009, Barbie's Fashionista doll line was created to represent a broader range of colors and features dolls with a wide-array of sizes, colors and abilities.
Previous dolls Barbie has introduced include both a Ken and Barbie doll using a wheelchair. According to Mattel, the Ken doll using a wheelchair was one of the most popular dolls globally in 2021.
The Barbie brand has previously faced criticism for presenting unrealistic and idealistic representation of women and feminine features.