Multinational toy manufacturer Mattel has teamed up with National Geographic to produce a collection of Barbie dolls focused on industries that women are underrepresented in, like science, research, and conservation.
“Barbie allows girls to try on new roles through storytelling by showing them they can be anything and, through our partnership with National Geographic, girls can now imagine themselves as an astrophysicist, polar marine biologist and more,” Lisa McKnight, senior vice president and general manager of Barbie, said in a statement.
She continued, “Barbie and National Geographic represent a powerhouse combination and our joint creative efforts allow kids to explore the world and different career fields right in their own homes.”
As well as an astrophysicist and polar marine biologist, the dolls will represent occupations like wildlife conservationist, wildlife photojournalist, and entomologist. The dolls come with relevant accessories certified by an advisory council made up of female National Geographic Explorers.
“Helping people understand the world is, and always has been, the core purpose of National Geographic,” said Susan Goldberg, editor in chief of National Geographic magazine and editorial director of National Geographic Partners. “Through our partnership with Barbie, we are excited to reach kids in a new way, using the power of play to inspire our next generation of explorers, scientists, and photographers.”
It’s a step away from Barbie’s previous reputation; in the past, the brand has received criticism for its shallow representation of women and for promoting unrealistic body standards to young girls.
The latest career-focused Barbie collection is accompanied by promotional material that encourages learning. Related programming and content will also become available throughout the year on Barbie’s YouTube channel. The account, which has nearly six million subscribers, sees Barbie vlogging about causes and stories relevant to children – especially, young girls.
In one video, she speaks about apologising for asking questions, for your emotions, or for any situation you shouldn’t be. “We say sorry like we’re afraid of being too big,” Barbie says in the clip. In another video, Barbie speaks about one of her role models, math and space pioneer Katherine Johnson.
The new Barbie collection will be available in fall 2019. The dolls and their career playsets range from $14.99 to $29.99 USD. You can buy Barbie’s products online.
Image Credit: Mattel