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Woke Barbie: Transgender Barbie a ‘first-ever’ for Mattel


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Mattel’s first-ever transgender Barbie has been released in the likeness of actress Laverne Cox.

The doll which has been modelled on the transgender activist dons a red faux-leather corset and matching tulle skirt which is removable to reveal a body-hugging silver glitter bodysuit.

Mattel’s release is part of its Barbie Tribute Collection which it says is in celebration of the incredible contributions of visionaries like Cox who have impacted and shaped our culture.

Laverne Cox, who has been described by Mattel as a trailblazer and icon, was recognised by the children’s toy manufacturer for her work in TV, film, and fashion, and her long-term activism in the LGBTQ+ community.

The ‘Orange is the new black’ actress said the release of the new transgender Barbie was significant given the rise in state legislation Cox says aims to ‘target transgender children,’ and prohibits transgender females from participating in sports consistent with their identifying gender

Cox told NBC’s Today show,

“I hope all the kids who are feeling stigmatized when their health care is being jeopardized, ability to play sports, I hope they know they can see this Barbie and feel a sense of hope and possibility.”

“If they don’t see themselves in this Barbie I hope they know they can create spaces where they do see themselves,” Cox added.

In addition to the release, Mattel also donated to TransFamilySOS in celebration of Laverne Cox’s 50th birthday tweeting, “everyone deserves to feel safe, seen, and celebrated for who they are.”

In response to the announcement of Mattel’s first-ever transgender Barbie on Twitter, a significant majority of comments were opposed to the newly released version of the doll. Many around the world expressed their horror saying that it marked the absolute decline of society. Some questioned whether the doll has male genitalia, or whether this meant that Ken would now finally be manufactured with accurate body parts.

Tweeted replies included:

Tammy_Kay said: “I don’t know what we would have done without that.”

Barbara_MIMM wrote: “You guys are a joke. Good luck when the stock market crashes.”

Magamemnon wrote: “Moral of the story, for those of you who haven’t figured it out yet: the Woke don’t want you or your children to be able to so much as open your eyelids without seeing their neo-racism and LGBTQ+ message somewhere.”

Others like The Rabbit Hole questioned how it was appropriate for a children’s toy brand to market gender and sex ideology through its products.

Recently, other major businesses including Woolworths, Coles, Coca Cola, Netflix, and Disney who have unilaterally pushed the ‘Woke’ agenda, have incurred the wrath of consumers who have threatened the boycotting of their services and products, and it appears Mattel is now also in the consumers ‘sights.’

As part of its inclusivity range, Mattel unveiled a new series of Barbie dolls this month as part of its 2022 ‘Fashionista’ line which aims to provide a better representation of children from diverse backgrounds. The dolls include a Barbie with a prosthetic leg, one with a hearing aide, and one with the skin condition Vitiligo.

While Mattel said, “everyone deserves to feel safe, seen, and celebrated for who they are,” it is yet to be seen whether Mattel’s next foray into the realm of inclusivity will extend to others who are considered visionaries.

Will the children’s toy company perhaps consider the production of a “Freedom Fighter Barbie” or a “Bodily autonomous Barbie,” or is Mattel’s version of honouring ‘visionaries’ limited to a specific group?



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