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Mattel's new Barbie and Ken dolls now in 7 new skin tones and 9 new hairstyles

27 June 2017 4:27 PM

Zanele Kumalo and Azania Mosaka discuss the importance of diverse representation, especially in pop culture.

Writer and editor, Zanele Kumalo says we all deserve to see ourselves reflected in pop culture.

Kumalo has penned an opinion piece expressing her thoughts on why representation matters especially where young children are concerned. In her column, she shares how toy manufacturer, Mattel gave their Ken doll a makeover.

Kumalo explains that the new range has two new body types; slim and broad. According to other reports, there are now seven new skin tones, nine new hairstyles, including cornrows, a fade, and a man bun.

Around Christmas time, she says she spent lots of time looking for black dolls that weren’t Barbies and was specifically looking for dolls with hair texture that more closely resembled her nieces and "who weren’t standing on tiptoes as if the only shoes women should ever wear are heels."

In fact I am forever grateful that the first dolls I remember playing with had the same complexion as mine, even if their hair wasn't, my father once returned from a trip to the US with three black Barbies for his daughters.

Zanele Kumalo, Writer and editor

If you still wonder why diversity is so important, imagine never coming across anyone that you can relate to.

Zanele Kumalo, Writer and editor

Listen to the full discussion here:


27 June 2017 4:27 PM