My doll growing up fit me perfectly. It was a Shirley Temple doll that an aunt sewed creative outfits for, some very exotic looking that gave me a special joy. Otherwise, I spent my time playing out doors and riding my bike. My little sister, though, had a Barbie that our grandma had made into her 4th birthday cake, decorated as a princess. She loved her Barbie and all that came with her. How different we look at them now!
In honor of this year’s International Women’s Day, Mattel Toy’s, maker of the Barbie Doll, has issued a series of women role models, past and present. The 17 new honorees of the brand’s “Shero” program include: Patty Jenkins, director of “Wonder Woman;” Chloe Kim, who won an Olympic gold medal in snowboarding last month at age 17; Bindi Irwin, the Australian conservationist; and British boxing champion Nicola Adams, among others.
The brand’s new “Inspiring Women” series is honoring pioneering aviator Amelia Earhart, celebrated artist Frida Kahlo, and Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician who broke race and gender barriers. Johnson, who is now 99, was featured in the recent movie “Hidden Figures.” These dolls come with educational information about the contributions each has made to society.
This is a big deal. Mattel has been making changes to the beloved Barbie for a few years by making new body types and skin tones. But after watching young girls during the protest marches the last two years and in what their selections of Halloween costumes have been, it is becoming clear that they want better choices. They want “shero’s” to emanate, not princesses.
Also, the Disney movie “Wrinkle In Time” came out this last week. There are three powerful Mrs. in the film who have also been given their own dolls. I love it that little girls now have new dreams and inspirations and role models to look up to. As I say over and over again, this is where hope and strong women live. Give them an inch and they will create a mile of possibilities. Together they are changing the planet!
Here’s to all the little girls, big and small, looking for your shero. The future is yours.