By Marissa Johnson
Barbie has launched a new set of Shero Dolls meant to honor women who have broken gender boundaries. Barbie and parent company Mattel, hopes these dolls will become role models to many young girls and inspire them.
At the Power of Women Luncheon, Barbie announced the dolls and allowed each of the women honored to auction off her own Barbie doll for charity.
Barbie launched six dolls for the Shero collection. The women honored include Ava DuVernay, Trisha Yearwood, Sydney Keiser, Emily Rossum, Kristen Chenoworth, and Eva Chen.
Trisha Yearwood is a country singer. Her Shero doll wears a glamorous floor-length black gown with a diamond-encrusted necklace. Sydney Keiser is a five year old fashion designer. Her doll wears a whimsical and vibrantly colored super hero costume complete with a mask. Emily Rossum, an actress and animal rights activist, wears a pretty flesh-toned mesh dress sprinkled with sparkly confetti, wears red pumps and has candy apple red lipstick. Kristen Chenoworth, a broadway star, has a Shero doll with a sequined maroon jumpsuit, strappy heels, and a sparkly clutch. The only Asian Shero honored, Eva Chen’s Shero Barbie wears shiny red heels, a modest red and black dress, and a black tweedy jacket. She is the editor of Lucky magazine.
Ava DuVernay is an African American director. At forty-two years old, her accomplishments include an award at Sundance Film Festival 2012 for Best Director. She is the first African American woman to receive this award. She is also the first African American woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Director for Selma and also to get nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
DuVernay’s doll is sitting in a black director’s chair. She has braids, but the braids are much thinner than the twists DuVernay rocks in real life. She wears a black turtleneck and dark wash jeans with red and white sneakers. DuVernay, the only African American honored, is by far the plainest of the Shero dolls. She is the only one who wears sneakers instead of heels. Could this be a deliberate statement by Barbie? It’s difficult to say.
If we take a page from the past Barbie flop, Oreo Barbie, it appears the statement was deliberate. Oreo Barbie was a partnership between Oreo and Mattel. Unfortunately, what Barbie may not have realized is that, in the Black community, the term Oreo is derogatory and refers to a black woman who wants to be a white woman.
We can guess that perhaps Mattel unintentionally made a negative statement about black women based on the outfit it chose for DuVernay’s Shero Barbie. Nevertheless, the fact that Mattel is stepping up and honoring a black woman for her merit and also an Asian one seems to be a sign that Barbie is recognizing the importance of being known as diverse and is tapping into the minority consumer base as well.
Barbie held an event it called National Shero day on April 27th and encouraged girls to tweet about women who inspired them with the hastag “Shero.”
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