After Mattel recently gave a makeover to Barbie to represent real life body proportions, Haneefah Adam, a 24-year-old Nigerian, has given them another reason to diversify their brand. She is challenging the doll company to work on their diversity act.
She wants to introduce “Hijarbie” — the usual Barbie, but in a hijab, better representing the millions of Muslim girls around the world who love to play with the doll.
NBC Today reported that when Adam posted her first picture nearly two months ago, she didn’t know Mattel had plans to introduce a new line of Barbie dolls featuring curvy, tall, and petite shapes.
The idea dawned on Adam when she was studying for her Master’s degree in England. Mic reported that she was inspired by the Barbie Style Instagram, a hugely popular account with over a million followers, which finds Barbie with blogger-worthy style. After months of thought, she decided to document her idea upon returning to Nigeria by designing all the hijabs and dresses on her own. She said the following.
“It got me thinking about how I’d actually like to see a doll dressed up like I would have — covered up. I was mulling about the idea for about three months while I was still studying for my master’s degree in the U.K. When I got back to Nigeria, I went to the mall, purchased a doll, dressed it up, documented it and here we are.”
The Instagram account, which models Hijarbie, modeling in the latest trendy looks while donned in elegant hijabs, has garnered thousands of followers in a matter of few short weeks.
The reason behind Hijarbie is not merely to demonstrate how beautiful and trendy modest style can be, but also to present to girls who may be wearing a hijab themselves that they are equally, or more, beautiful and special than Barbie herself. She said the following.
“I want them to be inspired — this is about having an alternative and creating an awareness of having toys that adopts your religion and culture and in your own likeness, which at the end of the day, leads to an improvement in self-esteem.”
Hijarbie also sets a positive example for the girls who wear hijabs, boosting their confidence and belonging. Adam said the following.
“They become more confident, more driven, they believe more in themselves, which leads to an appreciation of herself and her modest lifestyle and upbringing. Instead of dressing up her dolls in clothes she wouldn’t wear, hijabifying it will create a sense of belonging and hopefully make a positive impact.”
Adam is also launching a modest lifestyle brand called Hanie.
Mattel recently introduced a line of several new and supposedly more inclusive dolls that come in different skin colors and body types, to deal with ever growing challenges from its diverse customer base which was hurting its sales. Come new Barbie dolls, and their sales skyrocketed.
It’s time that Mattel emulates H&M, Uniqlo, Dolce & Gabbana, and others who have stocked up on hijabs in a quest to answer the growing diversity demands from its customers.
[Image via Instagram]