Barbie maker criticized for ‘inclusive’ Olympic collection without Asian representation

Business

Barbie® Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Assortment (Photo: Business Wire)

CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Mattel, the maker of Barbie, is facing backlash on social media for not featuring an Asian Barbie in their collection dedicated to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.

The toymaker partnered with the International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 organizers to develop a line of baseball/softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing dolls for the Games. 

(Photo: Business Wire)

In a press release, the company says the collection is intended to “highlight inclusivity and innovation” in an effort to “inspire a new generation of athletes and fans around the world,” but the dolls appear to be primarily white and Black, with none of the dolls of Asian descent.

People quickly took to social media to express disappointment in Mattel for their excluding the Asian doll.

One Twitter user wrote, “Where’s the Asian Barbie?? They are generally hard to find but you would think Olympics would include! My daughter is half Asian & I keep debating if she will ever play with Barbie.”

Barbie® Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 Assortment (Photo: Business Wire)

Michigan Macomb County Commissioner Mai Xiong shared similar sentiments.

“I won’t be buying Barbie dolls for my two girls. No representation whatsoever,” Xiong tweeted,

Other social media users criticized the brand’s decision because the Games were set in a predominately Asian city, Tokyo and many Asian American Pacific Islanders won big — including Team USA’s Sunisa Lee, the first Asian to win gold in the gymnastics individual all-around.

In fact, weeks prior to the Games the company released a doll modeled after Naomi Osaka, a Japanese-Haitian tennis star. Her doll sold out hours after its release.

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