Who Is Ibtihaj Muhammad?
Mattel is making headlines with their latest Barbie Sheroes collection featuring a Hijab Barbie doll designed after Muslim American Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad. Muhammad already made waves in 2016, becoming the first U.S.Olympic athlete to ever wear a hijab at the Rio Olympic games. And now, Muhammad is breaking down barriers even further with her own Barbie, becoming the first to ever wear a hijab.
Barbie's First Hijab-Wearing Barbie Designed After Ibtihaj Muhammad
The Barbie doll was unveiled at Glamour's Women of the Year Summit on Monday, becoming the latest doll added to Barbie's Shero line, which features "female heroes" and boundary-breaking women meant to expand possibilities for women everywhere. Muhammad's doll joins other "Sheroes" like Ashley Graham, Zendaya, Misty Copeland, Ava DuVernay, and Gabby Douglas. However, the Muhammad Barbie doll is the first time in 58 years that a Barbie doll has worn a hijab.
"I’m excited to just partner with a brand that I know honors powerful women who are breaking barriers and whose sole goal is to impact the future leaders of tomorrow,” Muhammad told PeopleStyle. "To be included in this conversation is very humbling and I’m over the moon about this whole thing.”
Muhammad's doll breaks down more than just one barrier. While her doll is the first hijab-wearing Barbie doll, the athlete also wanted to make sure that her doll properly represented her body type.
"When I was a kid, I remember people commenting on the size of my thighs," Muhammad told The New Yorker. "Then I got involved in sports, and I came to appreciate my body." Muhammad then requested the doll to have stronger legs and wear a hijab.
Although Muhammad's doll is a huge win, she also recognizes that there's a lot more to do when it comes to inclusivity.
“When I found out I was the first woman in a hijab, I thought for sure Malala Yousafzai would have one,” Muhammad said. "“I think it would be cool to have Malala have a Barbie doll… her story line in general would be great to teach our kids today. I’m gonna tell Mattel to streamline that. I’ll be the agent on that.”
Thank you @Mattel for announcing me as the newest member of the @Barbie #Shero family! I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true 😭💘 #shero pic.twitter.com/py7nbtb2KD— Ibtihaj Muhammad (@IbtihajMuhammad) November 13, 2017
Today, Muhammad celebrates her Barbie Shero and the potential impact she will make on the next generation of girls.
"Thank you @Mattel for announcing me as the newest member of the @Barbie #Shero family! I’m proud to know that little girls everywhere can now play with a Barbie who chooses to wear hijab! This is a childhood dream come true," Muhammad tweeted upon the release of her doll.
In an official statement, Sejal Shah Miller, the vice president of global marketing for Barbie, stood by Muhammad's story and doll.
"Barbie is celebrating Ibtihaj not only for her accolades as an Olympian, but for embracing what makes her stand out," Miller said. "Ibtihaj is an inspiration to countless girls who never saw themselves represented, and by honoring her story, we hope this doll reminds them that they can be and do anything."
According to Barbie, Ibtihaj Muhammad's doll will be released in 2018. And yes, we're excited. Are you?
Read these next: