Barbie "Shero" Doll with a Hijab Honors Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad

Joann Johnston
November 13, 2017

Muhammad unveiled her Barbie during Glamour's Woman of the Year live summit in Brooklyn, New York.

Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad made history in the Rio 2016 Olympics as the first woman to compete in the games while wearing a hijab, the traditional headscarf worn by Muslim women.

According to Mattel, the "Sheros" program was created to honor women who break boundaries. The one-of-a-kind Barbie will be available for purchase in 2018.

While playing dress-up or with dolls tends to be trivialized, Muhammad fiercely argues that the ability for girls to imagine the different things they can be, and envision themselves in different spaces, is crucial.

"My mom made efforts when I was a kid to bring dolls into the house that were only dolls of color", she said.

Mohammad knows how significant this is, because like many children of color who grew up before Barbie was as diversified as it is today, it was hard to find an array of brown and black dolls.

"I'm proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab!" she wrote in her caption.

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Previous Shero dolls have included "Selma" director Ava DuVernay, American ballerina Misty Copeland and U.S. Olympic gymnast Gabby Douglas, among others.

Ultimately, Muhammad was a flawless choice for Mattel to immortalize in their iconic doll for this year's Shero lineup.

"Barbie is celebrating Ibtihaj not only for her accolades as an Olympian, but for embracing what makes her stand out", Sejal Shah Miller, vice president of global marketing for Barbie, said in a press release. "I don't know if you can tell, but I'm so excited!" she exclaimed. That's just another reason that she is a ideal choice for the Shero Barbie honor. "And that's what Mattel wants-they want women who are championing their differences", Graham said.

Prior to Muhammad's doll, the option of dressing Barbies in hijabs were scant.

The company was created in recent years to promote "inclusion, tolerance and diversity through exposure" to Muslim fashion. "This is a childhood dream come true".

Muhammad's face lit up when she saw her Barbie replica, identical to her down to the fencing uniform and white hijab.

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