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Mattel admits it ‘fell short’ by not creating an Asian Barbie doll for the Tokyo Games


  • Toymaker Mattel admitted it “fell short” by not including an Asian Barbie in its line for the Tokyo Olympics.
  • The line includes white and Black dolls representing new sports at the Olympics.
  • Twitter users criticized the toymaker for not including an Asian woman when the Olympics were held in Tokyo.

Toymaker Mattel “fell short” by failing to include an Asian Barbie doll in its line-up of dolls celebrating the Tokyo Games, the company said in an August 10 statement to multiple media outlets.

Mattel showcased a range of five new dolls in a tweet on July 29, writing that the dolls would capture “the fun and friendship of the season.” The dolls included a Black surfer doll and a blonde, white woman in karate gear as well as baseball and softball, sport climbing, and skateboarding dolls — collectively representing five of the new sports that were added to the Olympics this year.

However, Twitter users pointed out that the doll line-up does not include a doll of Asian descent despite the games being held in Tokyo this year.

Some Twitter users said the lack of Asian representation stung, especially after Sunisa Lee became the first Hmong-American to compete for Team USA at the Olympics. The Tokyo Games, where Lee snagged a gold medal in the gymnastics individual all-aroundconcluded on August 8.


“I won’t be buying Barbie dolls for my two girls. No representation whatsoever,” tweeted Mai Xiong, a county commissioner in Macomb County, Minnesota.

“Mattel renders Asian Americans invisible while touting (its) ‘most diverse doll line yet,'” wrote Japanese-American artist Drue Kataoka in a tweet.

In the August 10 statement, the company said its skateboarding doll was intended to represent the Asian community. Mattel did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider. 

Fostering a more inclusive world is at the heart of our brand and we strive to reflect that in our Barbie product line,” a Mattel spokesperson told the Huffington Post.

“Moving forward, we will work to find more ways to champion all representation and celebrate the amazing achievements of all Olympic athletes, who are showing us that anything is possible,” the spokesperson said. 

Barbie, which has been around for more than 61 years, has previously made strides forward in its attempts to be more inclusive. Last January, the company released a line of dolls including one with vitiligo, another with a prosthetic limb, and one without hair.

The company has previously released Asian and mixed-race dolls. In 2019, it featured a collection of the seven members of the Korean boy band BTS. And in July, the company released a Naomi Osaka doll modeled after the star tennis player, which sold out shortly after its launch, per CNN.

Courtesy By INSIDER

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