First Transgender Barbie!

Madame StewartDeep Dish3 Comments

Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox has always been an advocate for her using her voice and living authentically. The Emmy-nominated actress, documentary film producer, and equal rights advocate rose to prominence with her role as Sophia Burset on the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, becoming the first transgender person to be nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award in an acting category.
In honor of her 50th birthday, Cox will once again break new ground. Barbie is honoring the award-winning actress, producer, and writer, with a doll made in her likeness. It is Mattel's first transgender Barbie.
"It's been a dream for years to work with Barbie to create my own doll. I can't wait for fans to find my doll on shelves and have the opportunity to add a Barbie doll modeled after a transgender person to their collection. I hope people can look at this Barbie and dream big as I have in my career. The space of dreaming and manifesting is such a powerful source and leads you to achieve more than what you originally thought was possible."
Laverne Cox

Mattel has created a Barbie doll in Cox's likeness as part of its Tribute Collection. The series, which launched last year, kicked off by paying tribute to Lucille Ball, a television icon and a trailblazer for women in entertainment, and most recently recognized Queen Elizabeth II in celebration of her Platinum Jubilee timed to her 96th birthday. Good company indeed!

"We are proud to highlight the importance of inclusion and acceptance at every age and recognize Laverne's significant impact on culture with a Tribute Collection Barbie," said Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie Dolls at Mattel.

Barbie Represents!

Laverne Barbie Barbie worked closely with Laverne to create a doll that properly reflected her appearance and style. The design team started by researching red carpet looks where she truly shines to recreate her iconic makeup and hairstyle.

Initial sketches of the gown were then submitted to Laverne, who expressed her favorite color to be deep, oxblood red. Laverne shared images of stand-out pieces in her wardrobe, and inspiration was taken from her beloved corsets, blazers, and sparkling shoes. Sketches, skin tone samples, and body sculpts were also shipped to Laverne to capture her comments and stamp of approval on every inch of her doll.

The Impact of This Barbie

Barbie Sheet Earlier this year, Mattel, Inc. announced that Barbie and a team of neuroscientists at Cardiff University released the latest findings from a multi-year study exploring the doll play's short and long-term developmental impact. They discovered that children use increased language about others' thoughts and emotions when playing alone with dolls.

A Harvard study also found that 61% of parents reported that the pandemic had negatively impacted their child's social-emotional development. So discovering doll play, including one as unique as the Laverne Cox doll, can positively impact children during such exceptional times as these.

"We know that doll play can help build crucial social skills like empathy," said McKnight." We're proud to continue to increase diversity across all our collections so that more people can see themselves reflected. It's our hope that the Laverne Cox Barbie doll empowers Barbie fans of all ages to dream big."

"With every doll we launch, we hope that we can help inspire fans in different ways," McKnight continued. "Laverne's story has the power to celebrate acceptance and kindness and encourage everyone to be their authentic selves through play. Her doll, along with our entire collection, gives fans of all ages the vehicle for self-discovery with limitless possibilities. We're proud to highlight the importance of inclusion at every age."

There is also something to be said for representation. In 2018, in a Gallup poll based on a survey of 15,000 people, LGBTQ individuals were said to take up 5.6% of the U.S. population. The findings based on the study suggest that the LGBTQ population is larger than we realize, especially when considering minors, those who did not answer the poll, and those who have not determined their sexual orientation or identity just yet. Accurate representation can lead to equality and acceptance.

In addition to a doll in her likeness, Barbie is also donating to TransFamilySOS. "We will be donating $25K to Trans Family Support Services. This nonprofit is close to Laverne's heart and aims to create a more gender-affirming and accepting community."

Mattel hopes that their fans can appreciate this doll and celebrate Ms. Cox's tremendous accomplishments in the industry. We're proud to support her impact on culture and hope our fans are excited to see her doll on shelves.

"Our goal has always been to showcase role models who can inspire fans of all ages to dream big," McKnight shares. "The purpose of our Tribute Collection is to highlight trailblazers who have made a significant impact on culture and celebrate their accomplishments. As a brand, Barbie continues to represent role models in our collections who can inspire fans and share diverse and inclusive stories. We're proud to reach a new first for Barbie and launch this latest Tribute Collection doll in honor of Laverne's impact, advocacy, and legacy."

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