by Madison Pravecek and Miro Korenha
We reported in March about iconic toy brand LEGO’s commitment to using sustainable materials. And now, Barbie-maker Mattel and National Geographic have partnered together to create a line of dolls with nature-related careers. Barbie will now be featured as a wildlife conservationist, an astrophysicist, a polar marine biologist, a wildlife photojournalist, and an entomologist. A committee including National Geographic‘s editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg and several NatGeo Explorers advised the designers on what accessories to include with each doll in order to ensure the authenticity of the experience.
High High Hopes: Susan Goldberg explained that “Through our partnership with Barbie, we are excited to reach kids in a new way, using the power of play to inspire our next generation of explorers, scientists and photographers.” Additionally, Lisa McKnight, the Senior Vice President of Barbie, also hopes this line of dolls will inspire young children to see themselves in STEM careers, “Barbie allows girls to try on new roles through storytelling by showing them they can be anything and, through our partnership with National Geographic, girls can now imagine themselves as an Astrophysicist, Polar Marine Biologist and more”. Additionally, Barbie announced that they will post related content on their popular YouTube channel to help children begin exploring.
Barbie’s History in STEM: Barbie has actually been at the forefront of showing women in diverse, STEM-related fields. The doll was redesigned in 1985, 1994, 1998, and 2016, with her spacesuit changing in each incarnation to become more and more realistic- in fact, in 2013 Mattel collaborated with NASA on a Mars Explorer doll. More recently, Mattel has released both an Astronaut and Space Scientist, showing the diversity of women in space careers.
Why This Matters: Barbie is a 60-year-old doll brand that has grown to become an iconic childhood staple, and the company is actually seeing a recent surge in sales. Seeing the doll adapt to the changing world means that it will be representative of more children and hopefully inspire them to see themselves as scientists and conservationists saving our planet. You can find this new, environmentally-conscious Barbie on shelves this fall.