Original Image Description From Source: Iconic doll character Barbie is getting a full-on diversity makeover for 2016.
(Image source: www.pinknews,co.uk)
|Image description: Share a smile Becky sitting in a pink wheelchair. (Image source: latest-wrinkle.com)|
So when I heard that Mattel was going to make huge changes to the line and make it more diverse, I was pleased and even hopeful, that ‘diverse’ actually meant ‘diverse.’
Then I saw the picture of the new Barbies. It is clear, instantly, that there isn’t a doll with a visible disability of any kind in amongst the bunch. Barbie had clearly dumped Becky, no matter how much she smiled, Becky. Is Barbie, and I can’t believe I’m asking this question, a bigot? That’s bad enough but let’s take a look at some of the statements made:
First, Ms Mazzocco, said that the dolls were ‘more reflective of the world girls see around them.’ It is clear that Mazzocco imagines a world where disability doesn’t exist and that children live in an exclusionary world where none with a disability dare enter. It angers me, deeply angers me, that Ms Mazzocco, presents to kids a world view that disability isn’t welcome.
Worse, Mazzocco says, that the dolls ‘allows girls to find a doll that speaks to them.’ Hmmm, I guess kids with disabilities aren’t customers or don’t want dolls. Or is it instead that Mattel believes that children with disabilities don’t deserve dolls? Has Mattel reintroduced the ‘ugly laws‘ in dolldom? I’m guessing so, because she went on to say: “We believe we have a responsibility to girls and parents to reflect a broader view of beauty,” So, neither ‘diversity’ or ‘beauty’ includes disabled children. Nice!
It’s a hateful act. They know how to make a doll in a wheelchair so a white cane or a guide dog shouldn’t be out of their range of expertise.
But they expect us to either not notice or not do anything about it.
I want to make something blatantly clear to companies, to newspapers, to writers of books and stories. You can’t freaking use the word ‘diverse’ if it doesn’t include us. We are part of diversity and without us it isn’t diverse – it’s exclusionary. We are massive in number, we are part of this world and this society and don’t you dare use the word ‘diverse’ if we aren’t there.