Afgelopen donderdag werden ze dan eindelijk onthuld: de nieuwe lijn Barbiepoppen; anders dan anders. Vorig jaar heb ik al een Engelse blog geschreven over deze nieuwe Barbie lijn. Je leest het hieronder.
Skinny, white skin and blond hair. That’s how we all remember Barbie from our youth. Come on, we all played with a Barbie someday back in the time. Yes boys, admit it, you too!
The American toy manufacturer Mattel recently created a new line of barbie dolls. Nothing new would you say, nothing special or ordinary. But nothing is less true. These new Barbie dolls all have something rare and special in common. They all have a physical disability. Besides from the fact we have black and white skinned, blond-, brown- and red-haired Barbie dolls, we now have dolls in a wheelchair, with crutches, or with one arm.
These new Barbie dolls are from the line named Fashionistas and besides from the physical disabilities they also have different hair and a different body shape. For example, some of the barbies have braided hair and smaller boobs, a less narrow waist, more hips and firmer arms.
But why suddenly different Barbie dolls? It seems like this wasn’t an issue back in the days. We never worried about our dolls looking the same as we do or anything like that. To understand the “evolution” of Barbie, we have to go back in the history of the most famous doll of all times.
The idea of the Barbie Doll was created by Ruth Handler. She saw her daughter playing with paper dolls and figured that she often gave them adult roles while playing with them.
At that time, dolls were often infants or little kids. She thought that this maybe could be a gap in the market, and she started working out the idea of an (young) adult doll. As the co-founder of Mattel, it wasn’t difficult for her to realize her ideas. She named the doll after her daughter Barbara, and voila, Barbie was born. Barbie was invented in 1959, exactly 60 years ago, however, the controversy over Barbie’s appearance is nothing new.
This all begun when people started to realize that if the doll was a real person, her measurements would be impossible. First, Barbie came as either a brunette or blond, however, in 1961 a red-headed Barbie was released. In 1969 the first Afro-American doll was introduced. This was related to the civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 60’s. In 1980 Teresa, the Hispanic doll added more representation to Barbie doll collections.
So, we see that the evolution of Barbie dolls is related to “real” issues and events in the history of mankind. When it comes down to Barbie dolls with disabilities this is not different.
The last few years we see a movement in the acceptation of all people in society. In the Netherlands are approximately 1.7 million kids and adults with a moderate or severe disability (Alles over sport, 2018). In Dutch politics, a lot changed the last few years, when it comes to people with a disability. The Cabinet, the Dutch political leaders, is financing a project where municipalities and companies are being supported to make their authority “disability-proof”(Hart van Nederland, 2018). Because as a matter of fact, a lot of people are still being rejected for a job because of their disability. What we see these days is that there is a lot of more attention for these people in society. We accept them more and see them as normal people as much as we see ourselves as normal. We don’t only see this in politics but in many more levels of society. Ulf, a little village in the Netherlands, for instance, organized a special festival for people with a disability.
The fact that all people are different and there is not one standard human anymore is something that is an issue all over the world. That is one of the main reasons these barbies where produced and why people are buying them.
I think there is still a lot to work on when we’re talking about human rights and equality.
I do think this won’t be something that will be over in a short period of time. I predict this will be an issue of all times. And therefore, signals like this will come back from time to time in different forms.
Alles over sport. (2018, oktober 2018). Feiten en cijfers over het aantal mensen met een beperking. Opgehaald van Alles over sport: https://www.allesoversport.nl/artikel/feiten-en-cijfers-over-het-aantal-mensen-met- een-beperking/
Bellis, M. (2019, mei 6). Biography of Ruth Handler, Inventor of Barbie Dolls. Opgehaald van ThoughtCo.: https://www.thoughtco.com/history-of-barbie-dolls-1991344
beperking, F. e. (2018, oktober 23). Feiten en cijfers over het aantal mensen met een beperking. Opgehaald van Alles over sport: https://www.allesoversport.nl/artikel/feiten-en-cijfers-over-het-aantal-mensen-met- een-beperking/
Gehandicapte mensen kunnen ook mooi zijn. (2009, juli 11). Opgehaald van ohm: http://www.ohmnet.nl/hindoewijzer/radio/gehandicapte-mensen-kunnen-ook- mooi-en-sexy-zijn/
Hart van Nederland. (2018). Kabinet wil drempel voor mensen met een beperking opruimen. Opgehaald van Hart van Nederland: https://www.hartvannederland.nl/nieuws/2018/kabinet-wil-drempel-voor-mensen- met-een-beperking-opruimen/
Jessica. (2019, februari 13). Nieuwe collectie: nu ook barbies met lichamelijke beperking . Opgehaald van Viva: https://www.viva.nl/stijl-en-update/nieuwe-collectie-nu-ook- barbies-lichamelijke-beperking/
Lotte Grimbergen, L. V. (2016, augustus 11). Nu is er ook een festival voor mensen met een beperking. Opgehaald van de Volkskrant: https://www.volkskrant.nl/cultuur- media/nu-is-er-ook-een-festival-voor-mensen-met-een-beperking~b560367e/
NOS Jeugdjournaal. (2019, februari 13). Nieuwe Barbie-poppen in rolstoel en prothese. Opgehaald van NOS Jeugdjournaal: https://jeugdjournaal.nl/artikel/2271805-nieuwe- barbie-poppen-in-rolstoel-en-met-prothese.html
NRC.nl. (2012, april 24). Gehandicapt betekende nutteloos. Opgehaald van NRC.nl: https://www.nrc.nl/nieuws/2012/04/24/gehandicapt-betekende-nutteloos- 12291195-a51701
NU.nl. (2019, februari 13). Fabrikant Barbie introduceert poppen met fysieke beperking. Opgehaald van NU.nl: https://www.nu.nl/lifestyle/5740554/fabrikant-barbie- introduceert-poppen-met-fysieke-beperking.html
Williams, M. R. (2016, februari 19). A little Missouri girl wants a one-hand doll, just like her Read more here: https://www.thestate.com/news/nation- world/national/article61454922.html#storylink=cpy. Opgehaald van The State: https://www.thestate.com/news/nation-world/national/article61454922.html