There's a new barbie coming out that wears a hijab
A new line of barbies, called the Shero line, has been making barbies of prominent women since 2015. They've made dolls based on olympian Gabby Douglas, as well as the model Ashley Graham, the great ballerina Misty Copeland, and celebrated director Ava DuVernay. Even Zendaya has had a doll. Basically, they're designed to be relatable to young girls by allowing them to idolize their heroes. Now, a barbie based on American fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad has been made.
Ibtihaj Muhammad was the first American to ever compete in an olympic game while wearing a hijab. Now, a barbie based on her has been built, with a white hijab. Little girls will now be able to have a Barbie doll with a hijab.
Muhammad tweeted: "I'm proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true."
And Sejal Shah Miller, Vice President of Barbie's global marketing, said: "Ibtihaj is an inspiration to countless girls who never saw themselves represented, and by honoring her story, we hope this doll reminds them that they can be and do anything."
Of course, it's a business decision. Selling a Barbie with a hijab is part of the culture-producing industry that capitalism creates in the image of wokeness. A corporation has very much to gain through embracing this kind of diversity. It comes with major media attention, and a branding of the company as one of the 'good guys'.
Of course, Barbie and Mattel are in it for a profit. Building a barbie based on an olympic fencer is not quite the same as mass-producing barbies with hijabs. It is based on one single person, an idol for young girls to look up to. The political implications of the hijab can't be smugly dismissed.
Creating a doll for young girls to wear religious garb seems progressive to Westerners, but creating a nun barbie in conservative Utah would strike progressives as odd. Like it or not, the hijab is a symbol of conservative religious practice. It is a symbol of a practice that, if it were Christian, would terrify and upset progressives.
What do you think of this doll? Creating a barbie based on a famous fencer wearing a white hijab seems like a good doll, especially for Muslim-American kids who look up to her and wish to see 'representation'.
In other world news, the conservative Islamic monarchy of Saudi Arabia is undergoing major changes. After allowing women to drive in the country, Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has undergone a major campaign of purging his rivals, including arresting eleven Saudi princes in the Ritz-Carlton in the capital city of Riyadh.
The future of the Muslim world is ins every flux. After the overall failure of the Arab Spring to bring democracy, and constant US failure of intervention to produce any positive outcomes, it remains to be seen what will become of the Muslim population in the Middle East. Islam is growing enormously as a religion, but will our politics ever improve globally?