The Doll Evolves: New Barbie Dolls Will Have Wheelchairs and Prosthetic Limbs

Barbie’s new additions are all about inclusion! This year, Mattel plans on creating Barbie dolls with wheelchairs and prosthetic legs. The company plans to use these dolls as part of their 2019 Barbie Fashionistas line as a platform to show children how diverse beauty can be. CNN claims that “Barbie's new looks could help fight the stigma around physical disabilities.”  

In a statement about their growing diversity in dolls, Mattel said the following: "As a brand, we can elevate the conversation around physical disabilities by including them into our fashion doll line to further showcase a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion.” Mattel sees the growing diversity in the Barbie doll line as a way to better represent all of their fans.

Courtesy: Today


For this project, Mattel collaborated with 13-year-old disability activist Jordan Reeves who was born without a left arm and uses a prosthetic because of it. They created a doll with a removable prosthetic limb for a true to life experience. The company’s most requested addition, the wheelchair, was created in collaboration with UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and wheelchair experts.

In a statement, Mattel revealed that the wheelchair is “modeled after one that is designed for an individual who has a permanent physical disability.”  Mattel Vice President of Barbie Design Kim Culmone said, "Hearing feedback firsthand from experts and people who live with physical disabilities was a priority for us and extremely important. Our intention was to capture as many details as possible to create a relatable experience.” Wheelchair ramps are also being designed for the Barbie Dream-House.

In recent years, Barbie has also added new body types and hairstyles. According to a USA Today article from a couple of years ago, Barbie dolls gained a range of new skin colors, eye colors and hair textures. CNN stated “This fall, the brand's Fashionistas line will debut new Barbies with braided hair textures, additional body types… another Barbie will have a noticeably different physique with a smaller bust, less defined waist and more defined arms.” Kim Culmone told Today Style, “We’re always looking to expand our line to be more inclusive. We’ve made great progress and we know there is still work to be done, but we want to offer more options for kids to see themselves represented within our product line." Inspired by the fans who requested representation “scars and all,” these new Barbie dolls aim to please.

Courtesy: Twitter 


Many fans, young and old, are excited to finally see a doll that looks like them. Twitter user Jessica Jewett Jones (@JJ9828) expressed her excitement “Y’all, I just read that the new wheelchair @Barbie is going to come with a ramp to make the Barbie dream house wheelchair accessible. Excuse me while I cry for 300 years because this was the toy I needed as a little girl. I’m absolutely going to buy one. I don’t care if I’m 37." Fans all over are excited to see the 60-year evolution of Barbie carry on. The new line will be available in June 2019.