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February 19, 2019

New Barbie models use wheelchair, prosthetic limbs

February 12, 2019
Wheelchair Barbie (Mattel)

Barbie is getting a prosthetic leg.

She has already had a wheelchair since the 1990s, but now the brand is getting even more inclusive, with plans to roll out a line of dolls with disabilities, as well as differing looks than the traditional big-busted, wasp-waisted original.

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The new doll in the brand’s Fashionista Made to Move line, scheduled to be rolled out in June, will also feature dolls with braided hair texture and varying body types such as smaller bust, less-defined waist and more defined arms, Mattel told USA Today.

The prosthetic will be removable, something that one of the design collaborators – a 12-year-old girl with a prosthetic arm – said would be important.

“The Barbie team collaborated with partners at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital and wheelchair experts to create a toy that is modeled after a real, rigid-frame wheelchair,” Mattel spokeswoman Kelly Powers told The News in an e-mailed statement. “The team also worked with 12-year-old Jordan Reeves and her doctor to create the doll with a prosthetic limb. This doll incorporated a key design feature to remove the prosthetic leg for a more realistic experience.”

Other dolls in the line can be used in the wheelchair, USA Today noted, and there’s also a DreamHouse ramp.

Mattel said the goal was to expand the concept of what constitutes beauty, USA Today said.

“As a brand, we can elevate the conversation around physical disabilities by including them into our fashion doll line to further showcase a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion,” Mattel said.

“A wheelchair or doll in a wheelchair was one of the most requested items” from consumers, Mattel’s vice president of Barbie design told Teen Vogue. “It’s important to us to listen to our consumers.”

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