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.
The Barbie Campaign Team set features four diverse dolls that inspire girls to see themselves in the roles that make up a winning campaign: Candidate, Campaign Manager, Fundraiser and Voter: https://t.co/QbWPC4e9ep#Barbie2020 #YouCanBeAnything pic.twitter.com/XuwY6LPBru— Barbie (@Barbie) July 28, 2020
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.”
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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.”
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.
Dark skin too! Which MATTERS, it’s dope.— yasmina (@liveyasminecom) July 28, 2020
The Field Organizer Barbie couldn’t make it to the photoshoot — she’s asleep on the couch, hasn’t showered in three days, and keeps mumbling about needing to close her shifts in her sleep. https://t.co/iYi3CUGYFl— Olivia Brandon (@oliviabrandon12) July 28, 2020
Comms Barbie didn't want to be in the shot and is probably yelling "last one" at a reporter anyways https://t.co/FIA7QO7HNo— Ofirah Yheskel (@ofirahy) July 28, 2020
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