Barbie dolls have been a part of a children’s playtime and imagination since the 1950s. While much of Barbie’s cultural impact has been about fashion, she has also been a pioneer in her many careers. She has shown kids that anyone can be a doctor or a game developer, a firefighter or an Air Force pilot.
Barbie also honors real life trailblazers, too. Recently, Mattel, which manufactures the iconic toy, has shined the spotlight on the amazing achievements of women in history through its new Inspiring Women collection.
“Barbie recognizes all female role models,” according to the official Barbie website. “The Inspiring Women Series pays tribute to incredible heroines of their time; courageous women who took risks, changed rules and paved the way for generations of girls to dream bigger than ever before.”
Other Inspiring Women in the line include ballerina Misty Copeland, gymnast Gabby Douglas and snowboarder Chloe Kim.
The two newest women to join the lineup are civil rights leader Rosa Parks and astronaut Dr. Sally Ride. Both of these women are being celebrated by Barbie with their own doll and they are beautiful!
The Rosa Parks Barbie
Parks was born in racially-segregated Alabama in 1913, and became active in the civil rights movement at a young age. She took a historic stand for civil rights by refusing to give up her seat on a bus to a white passenger back on December 1, 1955.
At the time, Black passengers were required to sit in the back of the bus, and give up seats on the bus to white passengers when the bus became full. Parks refused to give up her seat and the white bus driver had her arrested and fined.
Her action lead to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, when Black people in the city refused to ride public buses in order to protest this racial segregation. Instead, they walked where they needed to go or took other modes of transportation. After a Supreme Court battle, Montgomery’s buses finally became integrated in 1956. For her bravery, Parks is often considered “the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement.”
The Rosa Parks Barbie sits on a doll stand and comes with a printed dress, coat, gloves, heels and a hat. It costs $30.99 and can be found at stores and online.
The Dr. Sally Ride Barbie
Ride was the first-ever American woman to go into outer space, and the first acknowledged gay astronaut. She loved science since she was a little girl, and her passion led her to earn her Ph.D in physics. In 1977, Ride responded to a newspaper article about how NASA wanted to recruit women into the astronaut program. She applied for the program and became one of just a handful of women chosen to train for space travel.
On June 18, 1983, Ride took off on a mission aboard the space shuttle Challenger as the first American woman (and youngest American) to fly to space. She worked as a flight engineer and launched communication satellites, as well as operated the shuttle’s mechanical arm.
The Sally Ride Barbie sits on a doll stand and comes with a blue NASA space suit. It retails for $30.99 and is available in stores and online.
There are even more Inspiring Women Barbie dolls coming out soon: look forward to dolls honoring NASA scientist Katherine Johnson (the subject of the film “Hidden Figures”) and artist Frida Kahlo, available starting Aug. 29.
What iconic women do you think should be memorialized with their own Barbie doll?