Story at a glance

  • Mattel is releasing a new line of Barbie dolls ahead of the 2020 presidential election.
  • The Barbie Campaign Team set features a candidate, campaign manager, fundraiser and a voter.

While the presumptive presidential nominees from both major parties are both white men this November, a new set of Barbie dolls aims to keep young girls' dreams of the first female president alive. 

The four doll set from Mattel includes a Black political candidate, accompanied by a campaign manager, fundraiser and voter.

ADVERTISEMENT

In 2016, the brand debuted tall, petite and curvy Barbie dolls, along with the original, in order to promote different body types. Each doll in the new line has different hair, skin tone and proportions, in line with the company’s attempts to address criticism over the unrealistic body image promoted by the original doll. 

“Since 1959, Barbie has championed girls and encouraged them to be leaders whether in the classroom, community or someday, of the country,” Lisa McKnight, Mattel’s SVP and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, said in a statement. “With less than a third of elected leaders in the U.S. being women, and Black women being even less represented in these positions, we designed the Barbie Campaign Team with a diverse set of dolls to show all girls they can raise their voices. Our goal is to remove barriers to leadership by giving girls the tools to imagine and play out their future roles.”


READ MORE FROM CHANGING AMERICA

WHAT THE 2020 BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTS HAVE ACHIEVED SO FAR

ADVERTISEMENT

OHIO TOWN ENTERS SPOTLIGHT AS ARMED COUNTER-PROTESTORS CLASH WITH BLACK LIVES MATTER

SIRI, ALEXA TAKE A STAND ON BLACK LIVES MATTER MOVEMENT

YOU MAY THINK YOU'RE NOT A RACIST. BUT THAT'S NOT ENOUGH


In a survey of adults, 66 percent observed an increased perception in leadership potential in children who role-play, according to She Should Run, a non-partisan non-profit that partnered with Mattel for the new line. Mattel has released a president Barbie doll nearly every election year since 1992, including a Black Barbie doll, and debuted a vice presidential doll in 2016. But the 2020 Barbie campaign team is poised to take on any election, whether at the national, state or local government level.

“With the upcoming elections and the current push for equality and representation, 2020 is an incredible time for us to inspire young women and girls to lead,” said Erin Loos Cutraro, founder and CEO of She Should Run. “Understanding the role we play in empowering our daughters is the first step—we have to have healthy conversations at home and encourage curiosity. By getting them excited today, we’re giving them the confidence to raise their voices and run for office tomorrow.”


America is changing FASTER THAN EVER. Add Changing America to your Facebook and Twitter feeds to stay engaged on the latest news and smartest insights.


The rollout campaign focuses on the importance of voting and taking a stand as well as showing girls how to run a campaign, according to Mattel, which raised $250,000 for She Should Run, She's the First and Step Up in 2019. The brand has stepped up its efforts to promote Barbie as a role model in recent years, including by challenging gender stereotypes through their products and other content. 

On social media, the reception was mostly warm, with jokes from political insiders and campaign workers. 

ADVERTISEMENT


WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS RIGHT NOW

ADVERTISEMENT

COUNTRIES LED BY WOMEN HAVE FARED BETTER AGAINST CORONAVIRUS. WHY?

WOMEN AND THE HIDDEN BURDEN OF THE CORONAVIRUS

EQUAL PAY DAY HIGHLIGHTS THE FINANCIAL STRAIN ON WOMEN DURING CORONAVIRUS


 

Published on Jul 28, 2020