Barbie Sentenced After Releasing ‘Included’ Tokyo Olympics Collection Without Visible Asian Representation


Mattel, the toy company that makes Barbie dolls, has worked with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Tokyo 2020 organizers to launch a new line of dolls specifically designed for the Games in February 2020.

The collection includes five dolls that reflect the five new sports that were added to the Olympic program this year: baseball / softball, sport climbing, karate, skateboarding and surfing.

“Tokyo 2020 is a monumental event that brings the world together through sport and inspires fans of all ages,” wrote Janet Hsu, director of the Mattel franchise, in a press release from Mattel. “The Mattel Tokyo 2020 collection honors these sports and inspires a new generation through the Olympic spirit and exceptional athletic tradition. ”

Despite an attempt to “[highlight] inclusiveness and innovation, ”many quickly noted the absence of an Asian Barbie when it was repromiled last month.

People have taken to social media platforms, including Twitter and Instagram, to express their disappointment with Mattel for ruling out an Asian doll, whether accidental or intentional.

“I will not buy Barbie dolls for my two daughters. No representation at all,” said Mai Xiong, Michigan County Commissioner Macomb, who immigrated to the United States as a Hmong refugee at the age of three. years. tweeted.
Many users also wondered how Mattel could have forgotten to include a visibly Asian Barbie with the Games held in Tokyo – a widely recognized Asian city – and with several Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) making the headlines after having won medals for Team USA, including Sunisa Lee, the first American Hmong to compete for the United States, who made history as the first Asian – regardless of nationality – to win gold in the individual all-around gymnastics competition.
Social media users wondered why Mattel didn't include an Asian doll given the importance of AAPI athletes and the venue for the Tokyo Games.
Mattel makes #AsianAmericans invisible while touting ‘the most diverse doll lineup to date,’ highlighting an Asian country, featuring #Barbie in Japanese karate uniform, [and] marking each doll “Tokyo official,” “Japanese-American visual artist Drue Kataoka tweeted.
Diverse Barbie dolls have proven to be very popular. A few weeks before the opening ceremony of the Tokyo Olympics, Barbie released a doll inspired by Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka as part of the Barbie Role Model series. The doll sold out just hours after its release.

CNN has reached out to Mattel for comment.

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