The History of the Ava Duvernay Barbie Doll

The Barbie doll has been around in one capacity or another since the final part of the 50s decade. That’s a long time for something to stay in production, to say the least. Perhaps the most surprising thing is that it wasn’t until fairly recently that the Barbie doll underwent some major changes. In other words, everything that made the Barbie doll a Barbie doll basically stayed the same until people started demanding that something change. Granted, there have been a lot of different versions that have been sold, but when it really comes down to it, almost every single one of them was basically the same doll with a few different accessories or some different clothes.

Two of the areas where Mattel really seemed to be lacking was in creating dolls that weren’t just marketed to girls and manufacturing dolls that represented people of color. Recently, they decided to change both of those factors, marketing a doll that is being pointed towards boys as opposed to little girls and creating a doll that accurately represents a powerful woman of color.

This is essentially how the Ava Duvernay Barbie Doll came into existence. You might recognize that name as the person that directed the movie Selma, among other projects. For all intents and purposes, she is a very accomplished and well-respected director and she definitely knows how to get the job done. The funny thing about the Barbie doll is that it was designed to honor her and a few other women who had made some notable achievements. None of those dolls that were in that group were ever supposed to be mass-marketed in order to be sold to the general public. However, when fans saw this particular doll through various online platforms, they started contacting Mattel and demanding that the company manufacture the Ava Duvernay Barbie Doll for sale to the public.

One of the reasons that this doll automatically became so popular is because it represents a real figure, not just some imaginary doll that existed in someone’s mind more than a half-century ago. In addition, the doll portrays women of color more accurately than previous Barbie dolls have. In fact, the scarce few Barbie dolls that have ever been produced to portray individuals of color were not accurate. This one is a far better and more accurate representation, right down to the way that Devarney wears her hair.

What does all of this really mean? Basically, it means that Mattel was listening to the people that keep the company afloat, which just so happens to be those individuals that will end up purchasing Barbie dolls. The history of this particular doll is really interesting because it was never intended for sale, yet it is now being mass-produced. It just goes to show that if enough people band together in order to make their voices heard, things are a lot more likely to go their way. This is especially true when it involves a company that depends on public support in order to remain viable. Obviously, they want to listen to the people that are essentially writing their paychecks. Perhaps it’s a valuable lesson learned for everyone, as it serves as proof that every person’s voice does indeed count.


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