Mattel, the American toy manufacturing company, has released a new hijab-wearing Barbie doll in tribute to fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first Muslim-American to don the traditional Islamic headscarf while competing at the Olympics.
Ibtihaj has become an inspiration to many when she became the first athlete to wear a hijab as an Olympian from the US and became the first Muslim American woman to win an Olympic medal, bringing home the bronze in team saber in the 2016 Olympics. Her doll is depicted wearing a white hijab and fencing uniform. She had this to say. "I wore it to the Olympic games, so I wanted my Barbie to have the ideal winged liner and also to wear a hijab".
She's not the only one with big hopes for the doll.
The Barbie Sheros lineup, unveiled in 2015, included (from left) Emmy Rossum, Trisha Yearwood, Ava DuVernay, Sydney "Mayhem" Keiser, Kristin Chenoweth and Eva Chen. The sabre fencer is known for her signature eyeliner.
On its website, Mattel explains that the new Barbie is "inspiration for countless little girls who never saw themselves represented in sports and culture", The Telegraph reports. I'm really excited to have this moment happen in my life and also for all these little girls now who can shop for Barbie doll that may look them, may wear a hijab like they do, or like their mom does, or like a friend does.
The doll will be available for purchase in 2018. It's usually worn as a symbol of privacy and modesty, as The Qur'an instructs Muslim women to dress modestly. Others go further, covering the whole face. The verse where it is used literally is commonly understood to refer to the curtain separating visitors to Muhammad's house from his wives' lodgings.
"Through playing with Barbie, I was able to imagine and dream about who I could become", Ibtihaj Muhammad said.