Though we used to refer to Barbie as a “fashion doll,” she’s never been just that, as the latest in the brand’s Inspiring Women series proves. As of Wednesday morning, kids can now play with none other than human rights activist and first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Mattel announced the release of the new doll to coincide with some fun Women’s History Month programming for kids, too.
“A champion of policies around civil and economic rights, Eleanor Roosevelt’s passionate advocacy was unwavering, even when faced with resistance,” reads a press release from Mattel. “Earning the title ‘First Lady of the World’ for her hard work and dedication to humanitarian efforts, Eleanor Roosevelt’s perseverance redefined the role of women in politics and public life.”
Eleanor joins the collection of Inspiring Women that also includes Dr. Maya Angelou, Billie Jean King, Ella Fitzgerald, Florence Nightingale, Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Johnson, Frida Kahlo, Rosa Parks, and Sally Ride. It’s all part of the brand’s initiative to close the “Dream Gap,” the drop in girls’ belief that they can achieve anything boys can that begins as early as age 5.
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Roosevelt certainly went above and beyond being President Franklin Roosevelt’s wife and mother to their six children. Throughout her life she held many roles, from teacher and wartime volunteer to political activist (just as women gained the right to vote), United Nations delegate, and syndicated columnist.
Though she was known for being serious, the Eleanor doll could make an interesting addition to any Barbie collection — why have only a group of partying teenagers when you can act out scenes of international diplomacy? It’s also pretty interesting to have an older woman in conservative dress portrayed in Barbie form.
To get further into the Women’s History Month spirit, kids can tune in every Saturday morning to Barbie’s new YouTube livestream series, You Can Be Anything, at 1 pm ET/10 am PT, starting March 6. The show will feature female role models, including actor Yara Shahidi and model Adwoa Aboah, in four episodes, “Your Voice,” “Music & Dance,” “STEAM,” and “Sports & Wellness.”
As much as we want to honor women’s history, we’re all very invested in making sure women’s future looks even brighter, and that starts with how our kids play and see themselves represented in pop culture.
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