#Inspiration: Barbie’s New “Campaign Team” Doll Set Has Them Running For Office. Now, That’s A Politically Correct Way To Empower Young Girls.
I remember jumping and screaming every time I opened a box and there was a Barbie doll in it. Boy, I was crazy about Barbie dolls when I was young. I had an elder sister who took care of talking our parents into getting us a new doll on every birthday and on various occasions otherwise as well, so when I turned about six or seven, we already had a bunch of those perfect looking blonde dolls to play with. I loved these fake plastic dolls so much that I even went as one in a fancy-dress competition. I didn’t win, but let’s not get into school politics right now.
As a kid I was always fascinated with how she looked and how was dressed in cute skirts and had the most amazing shoes. But as I grew up, I realised how unrealistic and problematic that was for a young girl like me. In reality, girls don’t look like that. They don’t have stick-thin arms and definitely don’t possess an hourglass body (I mean some do, but let’s not talking about those women now, okay?) I realised that women don’t always dress in pink or want stereotypical girly stuff like cooking, shopping and making a home.
Thankfully, the dolls have drastically evolved since then as the makers might have realised this too. They now have more inclusive dolls representing real women in different professional roles and that’s great. We’ve seen doctor Barbies, businesswoman Barbie, an astronaut and a boxer Barbie. And these dolls are not only from different walks of life but also from different nationalities to make Barbie more inclusive, relatable and empowering to young girls.
In the latest launch, Mattel unveiled a set of dolls, called “Campaign Team”, which has Barbie running for office. Now that’s great because US elections are around the corner and this particular line will encourage girls to opt a career in politics, a field which is heavily dominated by men. The four dolls in the set represent four roles in an election campaign namely a campaign manager, a campaign fundraiser, a voter and a candidate which features a black Barbie. Again, that’s so empowering.
Mattel shared the new set on their Instagram account and captioned it, “This election year, @Barbie celebrates the limitless potential of girls everywhere to stand up for what they believe in, with the Barbie Campaign Team career set. #Barbie2020 #YouCanBeAnything.”
Lisa McKnight who is the SVP and global head of Barbie at Mattel, told why the team came up with a political team for this year’s launch. She said in the press release, “With less than a third of elected leaders in the U.S. being women, and Black women being even less represented in these positions, we designed the Barbie Campaign Team with a diverse set of dolls to show all girls they can raise their voices.” She further added, “Our goal is to remove barriers to leadership by giving girls the tools to imagine and play out their future roles.”
This is not the first time though that barbie has run for office. Mattel introduced its first ever Barbie for presidential run in 1992 and has seven political editions in three decades. Their motive is to inspire girls to “play, dream and lead”. This team comes from the Barbie’s “Career Of The Year Collection” through which they not only want the young girls to picture themselves in a political leadership but also encourage them to get involved in voting when they grow up.
What I particularly love about this campaign team, other than the empowering career in politics of course, is the realistic characteristics of the Barbie dolls. They are of different heights, believable body types and varied ethnicity. Plus, it has four women in four different election roles, including a voter doll who’s in her 20s. This gives the young girls the idea that you can be anything from a presidential candidate to a campaign fundraiser or even a campaign manager and help shape the future.
Women’s participation in politics is relatively very low as compared to men and the age-old gender disparity and stereotypes questioning women in power don’t help. This is even worse in the countries where women are oppressed and women suffrage is still limited. Recently Elle UK started #MoreWomen campaign which showed a video to depict the low percentage of women representatives in politics. It shows pictures of political gatherings with one actual photo and the other slightly photoshopped with men removed from the scene. The result was disappointing. See for yourself.
Also read: If You’re Over 18 Years Old And An Indian Woman, You Must Vote. Here’s Why It’s Important
This is what politics would look like if we removed men from it. Only a handful of women in power are left. There is a serious dearth of female politicians in most countries in the world and only a few have women as their president. Things are changing though as more women are showing interest in the leadership roles and a political career and are fighting to hold office despite being put down by their male opponents. Studies show that women in office inspire more women to choose politics and I think seeing these dolls, which are basically role models for girls at a young age, will have a similar effect on them.
This Barbie set is a great way to educate girls about politics and inspire them to take the road less taken and make a career in politics to help shape the future. If we had such dolls with powerful careers back then, maybe women wouldn’t be underrepresented in politics today. Anyway, here’s hoping for a better future with more women running for office.