The Barbie collection dedicated to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games has been criticized by social networks for its lack of Asian representation.
America’s most popular fashion doll, Barbie, has been widely criticized on social media for not featuring an Asian Barbie in their Tokyo 2020 Olympics collection.
Mattel, the toy company that makes Barbie dolls, has worked with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 organizers to launch a new line of dolls specifically designed for the Games in February 2020.
The collection includes five dolls that reflect the five new sports that were added to the Olympic program this year: baseball / softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing.
Mattel worked with the IOC and Tokyo 2020 organizers to design dolls reflecting new sports on the Olympic program.
“Tokyo 2020 is a monumental event that brings the world together through sport and inspires fans of all ages,” wrote Janet Hsu, director of the Mattel franchise, in a press release from Mattel. “The Mattel Tokyo 2020 collection honors these sports and inspires a new generation through the Olympic spirit and exceptional athletic tradition. ”
Despite an attempt to “[highlight] inclusiveness and innovation ”, many were quick to note the absence of an Asian Barbie when it was repromoted last month.
People have taken to social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram, to express their disappointment with Mattel for ruling out an Asian doll, whether accidental or intentional.
“I will not buy Barbie dolls for my two daughters. No representation at all, ”Michigan Macomb County Commissioner Mai Xiong, who immigrated to the United States as a Hmong refugee at the age of three, tweeted.
Many users also wondered how Mattel could have forgotten to include a visibly Asian Barbie with the Games held in Tokyo – a widely recognized Asian city – and with several Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) making headlines afterwards. winning medals for the US team, including Sunisa. Lee, the first American Hmong to compete for the United States, who made history as the first Asian – regardless of nationality – to win gold in the all-around gymnastics.
Social media users wondered why Mattel didn’t include an Asian doll given the importance of AAPI athletes and the venue for the Tokyo Games.
Mattel makes the #AsianAmericans invisible while touting ‘the most diverse doll lineup to date,’ highlighting an Asian country, featuring #Barbie in Japanese karate uniform, [and] marking every doll ‘Tokyo official’, ”Japanese-American visual artist Drue Kataoka tweeted.
Diverse Barbie dolls have proven to be very popular. A few weeks before the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, Barbie released a doll inspired by Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka as part of the Barbie Role Model series. The doll sold out just hours after its release.
CNN has reached out to Mattel for comment.
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