Last International Women’s Day, Barbie broke the mold when it released Inspiring Women, a line of dolls based on female figures from history. At the time of its release, this series featured dolls inspired by 3 influential women: NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, Mexican artist Frida Kahlo, and legendary pilot Amelia Earhart. Recently, the series has welcomed two more powerful people: activist Rosa Parks and astronaut Sally Ride.
Like the other Inspiring Women Barbies, the Rosa Parks and Sally Ride dolls perfectly capture the likenesses of the figures. Parks, a black woman whose refusal to give up her seat on a city bus made her the “mother of the modern day civil rights movement,” wears her signature cap and glasses. Similarly, Sally Ride, a physicist and astronaut who became the first American woman in space in 1983, dons a curly cropped hairstyle and flight suit.
While these telltale signifiers help us recognize the figures, the Barbies are much more than their appearance. A far cry from the heavily made-up and unrealistically proportioned blonde Barbie dolls of the past, the Inspiring Women line aims to forego the brand’s past focus on beauty and instead aims to make these female figures household names—and, most importantly, remind young girls that the future is theirs. “Imagining she can be anything is just the beginning,” Mattel explains. “Actually seeing that she can makes all the difference.”
The Inspiring Women collection was released on the heels of Shero, a line of Barbie dolls inspired by contemporary role models. You can find dolls from these and other empowering series on the Barbie website.
Barbie’s Inspiring Women series celebrates some of history’s most important female figures. Recently, Mattel has added two new dolls to the mix:
Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks…
And astronaut Sally Ride!