Barbie and Representation for Girls of Color

As a kid, I loved my Barbie dolls. When you’re a little girl, there’s something magical about the idea of “growing up” and playing make believe about the woman you’ll someday become. Barbie, with her varied styles and careers, taps into the heart of that childhood dream.

Still, I remember there was such a limited selection of Barbies that looked anything like me–a Filipina-Italian girl with brown skin and dark, curly hair. I specifically recall seeking out the “International Barbie” section at the toy store in an effort to find dolls that looked just a little bit more like me.

I have a daughter of my own now. She’s my Filipina Italian Mexican American princess, and she loves playing with her Barbies as much as she loves collecting bugs in the backyard. Every day, I try to remind her that she’s intelligent, talented and strong–that her mind and soul and body are beautiful and should be celebrated and cherished.

Yet most of the dolls I see in stores are still of the blonde hair, blue-eyed variety. I do know the brand has made more of an effort to diversify with the expansion of its Barbie Fashionistas line, which offers dolls in a variety of skin tones and more realistic body shapes (yes!). So hopefully that representation will be reflected in store aisles more and more.

I decided to take a closer look at what Barbie currently has to offer and have to say I’m optimistic and looking forward to how the brand continues to evolve. Here are some of my favorite finds representing women and girls of color.

(You can click on each picture for more details.)

Best Barbies for Girls of Color




Black Barbie, Tall barbie, African American Barbie








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