Eleanor Roosevelt did not get to experience becoming a Barbie during her lifetime, but she will soon enter Barbie’s dream world.
Barbie announced the former first lady has become the newest doll in the brand’s “Inspiring Women” series. Roosevelt will join shelves alongside earlier released historical role model dolls like Billie Jean King, Rosa Parks, Maya Angelou and Sally Ride. All have been introduced to inspire young girls to “be anything.”
“A champion of policies around civil and economic rights, Eleanor Roosevelt’s passionate advocacy was unwavering, even when faced with resistance,” the company said in a press release. “Earning the title ‘First Lady of the World’ for her hard work and dedication to humanitarian efforts, Eleanor Roosevelt’s perseverance redefined the role of women in politics and public life.”
Along with the new doll comes the launch of a four-part YouTube and Facebook “You Can Be Anything” virtual series. The series will feature present-day role models like actress Yara Shahidi and model Adwoa Aboah in a live stream every Saturday in March to encourage children to become tomorrow’s leaders.
Barbie’s newest releases fall in line with the brand’s latest efforts to diversify the toy. A brand once criticized by some observers for promoting a narrow, unrealistic ideal of what is beautiful has now been on a diversity push unveiling dolls with an array of skin tones, hair textures, body sizes and facial structures.
documented in 2018 Hulu documentary “Tiny Shoulders: Rethinking Barbie”). It was the first time the doll was recreated to resemble other body types aside from its stick-thin frame.
Over the years the brand has unveiled dolls with prosthetic limbs, vitiligo, no hair and with wheelchairs. Mattel also launched a line of gender neutral dolls, separate from Barbie, in 2019 called Creatable World.
The Eleanor Roosevelt doll will be on shelves staring Wednesday, ahead of International Women’s Day which is March 8.
Contributing: Adrianna Rodriguez, Charisse Jones, Carly Mallenbaum