31-year-old Ibtihaj Muhammad, a Muslim-American sabre fencer, created history as the first woman ever to have competed at the Olympics while wearing a hijab. Not only is Ibtihaj a trailblazer — she won the bronze medal in team sabre fencing at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. In breaking countless invisible barriers posed on women throughout the world in the name of culture, race and religion, Ibtihaj Muhammad has shown women all over the world that the will to succeed is all it takes.
In tribute to Ibtihaj Muhammad, a modern day hero and role model for women all over the world, Mattel has launched a brand-new doll in her likeness as part of their ‘Sheroes’ line – a collection that pays tribute to iconic women across the world.
Barbie, Mattel's long-standing plastic icon, has dealt with her fair share of highs and lows since she debuted in 1959. Loved by millions of girls all over the globe on one hand for her picture-perfect attributes, and criticized by others for being a negative influence on little girls with unrealistic body measurements and major materialistic tendencies. Whichever the case, in recent years, Barbie has undeniably turned her game around – supporting multiple new body types, skins and attributes – in an attempt to embrace what’s real in this world.
"Barbie is celebrating Ibtihaj not only for her accolades as an Olympian but for embracing what makes her stand out," Sejal Shah Miller, vice president of global marketing for Barbie, said in a press statement.
In a video released by Glamour magazine for the Glamour Women of the Year Awards, Ibtihaj is seen taking a tour of the Mattel factory while discussing how her doll is exactly like herself. She also demonstrated how to tie a hijab on the video as she chatted with plus-size supermodel Ashley Graham, whose own Barbie was released in 2016. Both Barbie dolls were carefully constructed to not have the infamous and anatomically impossible Barbie body: Graham’s doll has a round belly and thighs that touch and Muhammad’s doll has the strong thighs of an Olympian.
Barbie’s Sheroes collection, which accounts for 5% of Barbie sales, has modelled dolls on the Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, the ballet dancer Misty Copeland, and the film director Ava DuVernay. The line is a wonderful addition to the manufacturer’s portfolio and has received popular acclaim across societies. Ibtihaj’s Barbie’s will be hitting the shelves in 2018.