Ibtihaj Muhammad barbie

U.S. Embassy London is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Mattel crafted the doll in Ibtihaj Muhammad’s image.

Back in 2016, Ibtihaj Muhammad was the pioneer among all American Olympic athletes to compete for the U.S. wearing a hijab . She ultimately won a bronze medal at the 2016 Rio Summer Olympics for sabre fencing.

Now, Mattel will be releasing a Barbie made in her likeness. The doll was unveiled at Women of the Year Live Summit on November 13. The event was organized by Glamour magazine. The unique doll is the latest iteration in the “Shero” line commercially sold by Barbie. The fencer worked closely with Mattel, Barbie's parent company, in every step of the doll's design. She expressed surprise that the end product bears a marked resemblance to her. Muhammad admitted that she found it cool to see herself in miniaturized doll form wearing a fencing uniform. She said that the doll even has her name on its back and comes complete with a tiny sabre and fencing mask. She admits that she loves the product.

The 31-year-old hailing from Maplewood, New Jersey, does not hesitate to talk about misconceptions many people have concerning Muslim women wearing hijabs. She was also forthcoming about Muslims in general, as a response to the tense political climate. When asked about why she wears the hijab, Muhammad said that the head garment reminds herself, living in a society where Muslims are a minority, about being aware of her own religion. She said that the hijab fits in perfectly with her sport and with her journey in life.

According to people in the know, Muhammad was extremely involved in the creation of the doll. No wonder it resembles her. She said it was revolutionary for Barbie to take the step of creating a doll inspired by a Muslim hijab-wearing athlete. She said that before her, there was no Barbie doll wearing a hijab. Little girls now can shop for a doll which looks like them.

The Shero line refers to female heroes. It celebrates women who break boundaries and inspires the next generation of females. Muhammad is the latest Shero after Gabby Douglas, Ashley Graham, Misty Copeland, and Zendaya among others. She termed the opportunity a “super humbling” one. Muhammad continued on to say that she is excited to partner with Barbie, a brand known to honor powerful and influential women who break barriers. She said that she is ecstatic about this development.

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