Thirty one year old Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first US Olympian to compete wearing a hijab and the first female Muslim to win a medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics, has inspired Mattel (the company that manufactures Barbie dolls) to release an all new “hijab Barbie doll” in 2018.
Born and raised in New Jersey to African American parents who converted to Islam, she learned fencing in school at the age of 13 and made her breakthrough.
And now she got her first hijab-wearing Barbie and launched her own clothing line. She is a part of the Barbie Shero program, that honors women who break boundaries and inspire girls to make change and pursue their dreams, following the steps of their successful female role models.
The sports trend led to Hijab Barbie
We all know that Nike was the first sportswear company to create and launch a performance hijab in March 2017. The hijab Barbie is now the new trend.
“I was always told I had big legs growing up, but through sport I was able to learn to appreciate my body the way that it was. Regardless of the images of skinny, white women with blonde hair and blue eyes that I saw on TV and the magazines, I was able to grow up as a curvier, brown kid and love my size and the strength I could achieve because of fencing.”
“So my Barbie having strong legs was really important to me,” she said, holding her new look alike Barbie that carries her own features, skin tone, body shape, even makeup and her favorite “empowering” (as she described it) black winged liner.
A bold move “dolls can also be badass sports-women”
She also mentioned how proud she is to make such a deal of letting young girls play with different colored/shaped dolls, and how they should imagine the things they can be and love themselves the way the are without being brainwashed by society and social media’s ideal looks.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with little girls wanting to wear makeup or role-play with their dolls. And also for their dolls to be badass sportswoman on the fencing strip, in hijab,” Ibtihaj added.
Ibtihaj Muhammad expressed her happiness on Twitter as she celebrated her new doll.