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Mattel embraces diversity with latest Barbie range

Mattel embraces diversity with latest Barbie range
18th February 2019 Ian Streets

She’s the doll who launched countless controversies, but the latest developments with Barbie have brought praise from diversity campaigners worldwide.
Manufacturers Mattel have released two new versions of the doll – one which uses a wheelchair and another with a prosthetic leg.
In announcing the new additions, Mattel explained it hopes the collection will help to broaden the definition of what’s considered beautiful.
Their statement said: ““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.”
Kim Culmone, Mattel’s vice president of Barbie Design, also explained the latest additions were a direct response to consumer demand: “We’re going to be introducing a doll in a wheelchair and a doll representing physical disabilities. She has a prosthetic limb,
“A wheelchair or doll in a wheelchair was one of the most requested items through our consumer hotline. It’s important to us to listen to our consumers.”
Culmone also revealed that the company worked with a team at UCLA and with 12-year-old Jordan Reeves, who has a prosthetic arm, to help them make the new dolls as realistic as possible.
When Reeves mentioned that the prosthetic limb should be removable, Culmone said it was one of their “first big ahas”.
He said: “That’s not necessarily something we would have realised how important it would be to someone living with this experience.”
Phil Talbot, Head of Communications at Scope, told The Express: “It’s wonderful to see one of the world’s most iconic toys embracing disability.
“Disabled children should have the opportunity to play with toys that represent them and their lives.
“At Scope, we believe that anyone working to challenge negative attitudes and celebrate disability is a Disability Gamechanger. Change requires action at all levels and everyone can play their part.
“We hope more toy manufacturers follow suit and also become Disability Gamechangers.”

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