Barbie manufacturer Mattel has launched a new range of dolls that are designed to be more inclusive and showcase diversity. The dolls are to be released during 2020, and feature one doll with Alopecia and another with Vitiligo. Recent Changing Faces independent research with ComRes found that over half (54%) of respondents said that people with visible differences are regularly ignored by brands*.
Becky Hewitt, Chief Executive, Changing Faces says:
“We very much welcome the launch of the new Barbie dolls with visible differences such as Vitiligo and Alopecia. As a charity that supports people with disfigurements, we hear time and time again that people who look different don’t feel they are seen or heard; growing up they never saw anyone who looked like them in magazines or in the media.
So, imagine how it feels as a child with Vitiligo or Alopecia to be able to have a doll that looks like you. We feel these new dolls are a step in the right direction when it comes to better representation for people who may have a scar, mark or condition that affects their appearance. We look forward to many more companies following this lead.”
Natalie Ambersley, who has Vitiligo and is a campaigner for Changing Faces, says: “When I was growing up I never saw anyone who looked like me and I would hide my Vitiligo to avoid the stares and comments.
The new range of Barbie dolls which includes a doll with Vitiligo is an incredible breakthrough because it creates another platform which allows people like me to be recognised and represented in society.
It’s been amazing seeing children share photos of themselves holding the doll, as you can sense a real happiness in the fact they have a toy that looks like them. I hope that it inspires other toy brands to create innovative products that shows the wider view of what our society really looks like.”
* The Changing Faces report, My Visible Difference, is based on new research conducted by ComRes. It provides a unique insight into the lives of over a thousand adults with a visible difference, exploring their experiences across areas such as employment, health and wellbeing, family and relationships. These findings are reinforced with the experiences that people with a visible difference have shared with Changing Faces.
ComRes interviewed 1,037 people with a mark, scar or condition that makes them look different online between 7th and 16th March 2019. Data were weighted to be representative of those with a mark, scar or condition that makes them look different by age, gender and region. This weighting scheme was sourced from a nationally representative public omnibus survey run between the 22nd and 24th March 2019. ComRes is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.