Beloved civil rights activist Rosa Parks is being honored with her very own Barbie doll. The toy company Mattel Inc unveiled their plans for the doll on August 26th as a way to celebrate Women’s Equality Day and commemorate women who ushered in new eras by being both social and professional trailblazers.
Rosa Parks is considered to be a “mother” and pioneer of the civil rights movement after her refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man lead to the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Alabama, and eventually desegregated the transport system.
She is honored alongside iconic Mexican painter Frida Kahlo, American astronaut Sally Ride, and Olympic snowboarding gold medalist Chloe Kim. Parks is the newest edition to Mattel’s Inspiring Women Series—a collection of dolls that honor historical female figures as well as everyday women who are role models and pioneers in their own respect.
While most are thrilled to see the respected toy company pay homage to such an important woman, some have criticized Mattel for maintaining the shape and size of the original Barbie body instead of opting for something more realistic. Others have even expressed that, while it’s a kind gesture, it may be “a little too late” to honor such an influential Black woman nearly 64 years after her life and society-changing refusal; questioning why they didn’t honor her sooner.
Mattel, however, wants no mistake to be made. Their intentions with their Inspiring Women Series are completely positive and pure. Lisa McKnight, the Senior Vice President And General Manager of Barbie, says:
“Girls have always been able to play out different roles and careers with Barbie and we are thrilled to shine a light on real life role models to remind them that they can be anything.”
The Rosa Parks Barbie Doll is available now at Walmart.