Culture

History-making hijabi Olympian Ibtihaj Muhammad is getting her own Barbie doll

As if being the first US athlete to wear a hijab while competing in the Olympics wasn't enough, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad is now the inspiration behind the first-ever hijab-wearing Barbie doll.

Muhammad made headlines during the 2016 Summer Olympics when she became the first Muslim-American woman to compete while wearing a hijab and the first female Muslim-American to win a medal.

Not only does her Barbie represent a whole new population of women, but it opens many more doors of creativity for children when they play with Barbie.

"My mom made efforts when I was a kid to bring dolls into the house that were only dolls of color", she said.

Muhammad's doll marks a historic moment for Mattel, too, with the company never having created a doll that wears a hijab before.

"Barbie is celebrating Ibtihaj not only for her accolades as an Olympian, but for embracing what makes her stand out", Sejal Shah Miller, Barbie's vice-president of marketing, told Bustle in a statement. "To have Barbie be the first big company to have a doll in hijab is really cool and groundbreaking". Muhammad was presented this doll by last year's Shero, body activist and model, Ashley Graham. I love that my relationship with Barbie has come full circle. "Now Mattel is doing it for us", she added. But that wait is worth it for the all girls who will finally see themselves represented in Mattel's famous toy-just ask Muhammad.

Ultimately, Muhammad was a ideal choice for Mattel to immortalize in their iconic doll for this year's Shero lineup.

"Ibtihaj Muhammad has challenged every stereotype-which to me is the definition of a modern American woman", said Glamour Editor-in-Chief Cindi Leive. That's just another reason that she is a ideal choice for the Shero Barbie honor. But in those early days, Muhammad didn't have Barbies that wore a headscarf, so she would sew on her own hijabs with her sisters. "And that's what Mattel wants-they want women who are championing their differences", Graham said.

Barbie, Muhammad, and others took to Twitter to celebrate the ground-breaking announcement.

The brand may have drawn inspiration from the Instagram account @Hijarbie, the "mini hijab fashion" blog that shows hijab-wearing dolls of all kinds of race and style.

With the official Ibtihaj Muhammad Barbie and the efforts of the Hello Hijab collective, the iconic and enduring doll has become even more representative of American women.



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