Barbie, the iconic plastic toy doll model which has often been criticised for normalising European beauty standards and lack of diversity, has taken a stand against racism.
The plastic Mattel doll took social media by storm after she had a discussion with her friend Nikki, a Black doll, on the topic in the latest episode of ‘Barbie Vlogs’ on YouTube. The animated video about addressing racial bias and discrimination received a positive response on Twitter, with people saying it’s great to use the doll’s popularity to address such issues.
“People might think that my life looks fine, but the truth is I, and so many other Black people have to deal with racism all the time,” Nikki says in the clip. “It’s really hurtful and it can be scary and sad, and I wanted to share some stories about that today.”
In the one-minute video, Nikki tells Barbie about different instances when she was judged based on the colour of her skin. “Barbie and I had a sticker-selling contest on the beach last month. We split up and went our separate directions to see who could sell the most. While I was on the boardwalk, beach security stopped me three times,” Nikki shares. “The security officer thought I was doing something bad, even though I was doing exactly the same thing that you were doing.”
Watch the video here:
“I don’t want to constantly prove and re-prove myself,” Nikki says in the poignant video. “He supported you right from the beginning and didn’t support me,” highlighting common experiences faced by people of colour. While at the same time, Barbie, instead of defending patiently listened and reacted sensitively, being aware of white privilege.
People on Twitter, where the video has garnered millions of views shared by multiple accounts, started a conversation on how Barbie is no longer just a symbol of make-up and unrealistic beauty standards for little girls but has become something inspiring and aware. Many were left impressed by the company’s support to the Black Lives Matter movement to raise awareness.
I got my first Black Barbie from Barney’s when I was 6 on a trip to New York. I knew then that despite my privilege I wouldn’t be considered equal. That Black Barbie is out here speaking truth to power on racism shows us the level of work that needs to be done… 1/2 https://t.co/NPT5nWXRZ0
— Sharmaine Lovegrove (@SharLovegrove) October 10, 2020
Barbie is not the brand I thought it was. This is wonderful and a powerful. https://t.co/CRwFpTqDLL
— Millenial Melancholy (@secretbiotches) October 10, 2020
I will always love barbie vlogs. There have been so many similar types of videos but theirs are truly the best. Barbie is out here talking to kids about mental health, family issues and now systemic racism. I’m a Barbie stan. https://t.co/DsXGSXHArG
— Pretty Savage (@kat_blaque) October 8, 2020
Whomever came up with this, Please give them a raise. This is why I still buy Barbie Dolls at 41 for my DAMN self. Great job 🤗🤗🤗
— Bay Area Elite (@BayAreaElite) October 9, 2020
— Chantel Rodriguez (@regina_arete) October 9, 2020
So cool. I love that there’s content for kids about this stuff. People forget kids are very empathetic and open! It’s the perfect age for them to start learning this stuff.
— Trump’s Rona 👻 (@justkelly_ok) October 9, 2020
It makes me really happy to see this taught in a way that kids will understand and engage with and learn from. It’s not performative—it’s actively instilling these ideas in kids and making change and showing them they have the power to recognize bigotry and stand up to it.
— Anna (@AnnaLikesPandas) October 9, 2020
Kudos to Barbie for an easy-to-understand conversation regarding Black Lives Matter protesting and racism.
— WearADa*nMask😷🎓👩🏾🎓👩🏾💻 (@GneissRoX) October 8, 2020
— Chibi Ursa (@_andreffm) October 9, 2020
“white people get an advantage that they DIDN’T EARN and Black people get a disadvantage that they DON’T DESERVE”
EXACTLY BARBIE i’m so glad kids are growing up with her videos because they’re always so educational and full of empathy https://t.co/aphOormRs1
— cin (@ecuIlen) October 8, 2020
— Matthew Sweetcakes (@MrSweetcakes) October 9, 2020
Barbie and Nikki throw down about Racism and White Privilege. This is truly awesome.https://t.co/NX4mh2IK42
— John Porter (@JohnPorter63) October 9, 2020
“Barbie is championing gender equality to help close the racial injustice barrier girls face through the Dream Gap and this is one way the brand is addressing it,” Mattel said in a statement to CNN.
“The goal of the episode is to help girls to understand that there is a huge movement going on in the fight against racism, why people are marching together and the importance of reading and learning more about Black history,” the report added.
Since Mattel launched her career as a content creator in 2015, Barbie has also vlogged about many difficult topics like mental health and fighting expectations against patriarchy. In 2016, Barbie became available in more skin tones and body types, and in 2019, Mattel introduced a line of gender-neutral dolls.