The First Hijab-Wearing Barbie Is Inspired by Olympic Fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad

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Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad won a bronze medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio. She was also the first U.S. woman to wear a hijab while competing in the Olympics. Now the master swordswoman was announced as the face of a new Olympic Fencer Barbie doll, and that means she’s going to be the first-ever hijab-wearing Barbie.

According to the BBC, Muhammad called the doll a “childhood dream come true,” and that’s really something coming from a woman who has an actual Olympic medal.

“When I think about my own journey, me being a Muslim girl involved in the sport of fencing, there were people who made me feel like I didn’t belong,” Muhammad said. “For all those people who didn’t believe in me, this Barbie doll is for you.”

The Barbie doll is part of Mattel’s new Sheros line of dolls modeled after inspiring women. This new doll has Muhammad’s face, and she comes in full Olympic fencing gear. (Not a pink version, either!) She has a full fencing mask and saber, wears training shoes, and has a hijab over her hair.

No other Barbies have ever worn a hijab. Muhammad said that when she was young, she used to make head scarfs for her Barbies out of tissue, so they’d look more like her family.

This will be the first hijab-wearing Barbie.

The new Barbie will be great for kids who wear hijabs, and also for those who don’t. There’s no reason a hijab-wearing Barbie wouldn’t have a place in the doll collection of a kid who never plans on wearing hijab.

“Today I’m proud to know that little girls who wear hijab and, just as powerfully, those who don’t can play with a Barbie who chooses to wear a headscarf,” Muhammad said. “She’s a Barbie who is strong enough to wield a giant sabre and dedicated enough to spend years working her way to an Olympic medal.”

The Ibtihaj Muhammad Olympic fencer Barbie will join other dolls in the Sheroes line, including Gabby Douglas and Misty Copeland. The Gabby Douglas and Misty Copeland dolls are available now for $24.95 and $29.99, respectively. The Ibtihaj Muhammad will be available in 2018.

What do you think of this doll? Let us know in the comments.


(Image: Twitter / Ibtihaj Muhammad)