Barbie makes doll of hijab-wearing Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad
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The maker of Barbie has announced a new doll. She is modeled after Ibtihaj Muhammad. She is an American fencer who competed in last year's Olympics. She wore a hijab while competing.
Mattel Inc. said the doll will be available online next fall. The doll is part of the Barbie "Shero" line. It honors women who break boundaries. Past dolls have included gymnast Gabby Douglas. They have included "Selma" director Ava DuVernay.
"I had so many moments as an athlete, where I didn't feel included. I was often in spaces where there was a lack of representation."
That's what Muhammad said last Monday night. She was at the Glamour Women of the Year gala in New York.
"So to be in this moment, as a U.S. Olympian, to have Mattel, such a global brand, diversify their toy line to include a Barbie doll that wears a hijab is very moving to me."
Muhammad is the first American to compete at the Olympics while wearing a hijab. She won a bronze medal in fencing. This was at the 2016 Rio Games.
"There was so much about the doll that was important to me," she said.
"I know as a kid I was bullied for having larger legs, and sport taught me to embrace my body and to love my body and the strength that it could produce. I think that having strong legs helped me win a medal at the Olympic Games, so I wanted my legs to be larger, more athletic legs, toned legs. And I am very into eyeliner, so I wanted a strong-winged cat eye. And Mattel listened to everything, everything even down to the fabric of the hijab.”