Olympian fencer inspires Barbie's first hijab-wearing doll

Muhammad's Shero doll will be available for purchase in 2018. Thankfully, in recent years they've begun to change that typical image by introducing dolls with different interests and backgrounds. This is for the first time in the brand's 58-year history that a Barbie is wearing a hijab. It's been created to honour and pay tribute to the American athlete, Ibtihaj Muhammad, who competed in the Olympics in fencing. Mattel wrote. "Ibtihaj continues to inspire women and girls everywhere to break boundaries". "This is a childhood dream come true". Announcing a new doll, the company just unveiled its latest product, the Hijab-wearing doll as part of its annual Shero program.

"I think it's revolutionary for Barbie to take a stand in this moment that we're in - and I would say, as a country, to have a doll wear a hijab and be the first of its kind", Muhammad added.

Starting out in 1959 as a small-town American girl modelled on her creator Ruth Handler's own daughter, Barbie since been a fashion model, astronaut, police officer, rock star, dentist, aerobics instructor and rapper and much more. "I know as a kid I was bullied for having larger legs, and sport taught me to embrace my body and to love my body and the strength that it could produce. I wore it to the Olympic games, so I wanted my Barbie to have the flawless winged liner and also to wear a hijab".

On their website, Mattel said they hoped the doll would serve as "an inspiration for countless little girls who never saw themselves represented in sports and culture".

Other prominent women who were honoured through the "Sheroes" line include Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, model Ashley Graham, ballerina Misty Copeland, director Ava DuVernay and actress Zendaya.

Barbie however isn't the only brand that has recognised toy dolls could do with a little diversifying.

  • Kyle Peterson