We all know about Barbie. Introduced way back in the 1950s, the Barbie doll has been a staple toy for children for over six decades. It’s practically a part of the Western cultural makeup, especially in the United States.
Barbie has undergone transformation after transformation in her long life. Every new release seems to bring with it a host of accessories and additional toys. But the doll has also been used to highlight social issues over the years. For example, one of Barbie’s most recent dream houses is an eco-friendly toy that teaches children about environmentalism.
No longer the seemingly shallow toy that she once was, Barbie is now a means to highlighting important issues. Nevertheless, Barbie still follows the latest fashions, so it’s amazing to see that the newest Barbie doll has taken her cues from the recent rise of Islamic fashion trends in the west.
The Hijab-Wearing Olympian
The latest Barbie doll is based on Ibtihaj Muhammed, an Olympic fencer who won a bronze medal as part of the United States’ sabre team during the 2016 Olympics. Muhammed’s skills weren’t the only thing on the show during the event either, as she took to her duels wearing a hijab throughout the Olympics.
Examine the new Barbie doll and you’ll see the resemblance immediately. Beyond the darker skin tone, the doll has muscular legs, and wears a hijab just like the one Muhammed wore during her Olympic exploits.
Of course, the doll also comes with accessories. Only in this case, they’re a fencing mask and uniform, once again reinforcing the connection.
This may not seem like a big deal to some. But this release marks the first time that Barbie has ever worn a hijab, which is huge for the Islamic fashion industry. It shows, once again, that Islamic, or modest, fashion has penetrated the mainstream.
Muhammed herself spoke about her pride in the doll, noting that playing with dolls was an important part of her childhood. She noted that dolls allowed her to “envision myself in places where society told me I did not belong.”
She went on to note the importance of having a doll modelled after a strong Islamic woman, especially during this conflicting time in history where there appears to be such a rise in xenophobic sentiment towards Islamic people.
As she puts it: ““There is so much focus on Muslim women in hijab, and oppression and being docile.
“This is flipping this entire bigoted narrative on its head.”
The Final Word
This inspiring new doll is part of Mattel’s “Shero” line, in which Barbie is modelled after several inspirational women of the modern world.
Unfortunately, Muhammed’s doll has inspired some rather predictable backlash. However, we see it as a huge step forward for Islamic fashion, particularly in regards to its position in the mainstream fashion world.
Islamic fashion has become a fixture at many fashion events and awards ceremonies. We’re delighted to see a new Barbie doll that may serve as an inspiration to millions of children. Furthermore, we hope the doll inspires conversation about women, Islam, and the hijab.
Jubbas can help you if you’re interested in the hijab. Check out our range today to find out how you can turn the hijab into a great fashion accessory.