Is This The Most Meaningful Barbie Ever Made?

Photo: Startraks Photo/REX Shutterstock.
The simple Barbie doll is one of the most iconic and popular children's toys of all time. Now, one of those dolls is making history — and has the potential to inspire and empower young Black girls everywhere. Mattel announced that it is selling a Barbie doll in the likeness of Selma director Ava DuVernay. When the brand created the doll this spring as part of a limited-edition collection, people were pretty bummed to hear they wouldn't actually be able to purchase it. Fortunately, the toy company listened. Now that she's available for everybody to buy, the Ava doll has already sold out online. DuVernay chatted with BuzzFeed about the exciting news during an interview on Monday morning.

"It’s pretty fantastic — particularly at this moment where the dearth of women filmmakers getting opportunity and access to make what they want is such a conversation, that I’m thrilled this particular profession is being amplified," said Duvernay, who is the first Black female director to have her film nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. The fact that the doll is sitting in a director's chair shows young girls very clearly that they, too, can aspire to be a leader in an industry still hugely dominated by men. DuVernay has spoken out about the sexism and discrimination that runs rampant in Hollywood. Now, she's moving the conversation forward in another way and reaching young people in the process.

"I want more girls to be able to see themselves behind the camera creating images we all enjoy and I want to call attention to the fact that women directors are here all over the world. When we say there’s a dearth of women directors, it’s not that there’s a lack of women who direct, it’s a lack of opportunities and access for women to direct and be supported in that," DuVernay said.

She insists, however, that the doll is not about her. "People have really been kind talking about why they are embracing this doll, but it’s certainly not about me. It’s about the image. That’s what they’re responding to,” DuVernay told BuzzFeed. Indeed, seeing a Barbie — which has long been associated with idealized beauty in America — sporting locs has the potential to be truly uplifting for young Black girls. It may not seem like a doll could actually have any meaningful impact on the future of the conversation, but the fact that many girls will now get to play with a Barbie that looks like them? That's real progress.

Photo: Courtesy of Mattel.

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