In wheel­chairs, range of mod­ern Bar­bies

Scottish Daily Mail - - News - By Alec Fuller­ton

SHE’S come a long way since her 1959 de­but as a pneu­matic blonde in a ze­bra stripe swim­suit and kit­ten heels.

Next month a more in­clu­sive range of Bar­bies will be wait­ing un­der the na­tion’s Christ­mas trees – in­clud­ing one doll in a wheel­chair and another with a pros­thetic leg. Man­u­fac­turer Mat­tel tried to in­tro­duce a wheel­chair Bar­bie in 1997, but it was crit­i­cised by dis­abil­ity rights cam­paign­ers when it emerged the chair didn’t fit through the doors of Bar­bie’s ‘Dream House’.

The new model comes with a pink wheel­chair ramp that makes it com­pat­i­ble with Bar­biebranded build­ings.

‘It’s won­der­ful to see one of the world’s most iconic toys embracing dis­abil­ity’, said War­ren Kir­wan, of dis­abil­ity equal­ity charity Scope. ‘Dis­abled chil­dren should have the op­por­tu­nity to play with toys that rep­re­sent them and their lives. Change re­quires ac­tion at all lev­els and ev­ery­one can play their part and we hope more toy man­u­fac­tur­ers fol­low suit.’

The move fol­lows years of crit­i­cism of Bar­bie, which has been ac­cused of help­ing to cre­ate a false im­pres­sion of the ide­alised fe­male body.

In or­der to re­flect a world more in tune with gen­der flu­id­ity and diver­sity aware­ness, the toy brand in­tro­duced ‘gen­der-in­clu­sive’ dolls in Septem­ber with no ob­vi­ous curves and far less pink cloth­ing.

And in 2016, Mat­tel’s Fash­ion­ista line of­fered three new body types – tall, curvy and petite – along with a wider choice of skin tones. The lat­est toys, re­leased in June, are now in­cluded on the Toy Re­tail­ers As­so­ci­a­tion’s an­nual list of play­things pre­dicted to be best-sellers this Christ­mas.

‘Embracing dis­abil­ity’

Lat­est ver­sions: In wheel­chair and pros­thetic leg 2019

De­but: Bathing belle Bar­bie 1959

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