Meet ‘Hello Hijab’ – The Barbie Doll Accessory That Promotes Inclusiveness
Pittsburgh-based mother Gisele Fetterman wants her daughter to have dolls that teach important lessons about diversity and this desire led to the creation of Hello Hijab. When young Grace got glasses at the age of 5, Gisele made sure to buy her a doll which also wore glasses.
“We make it a point to be very deliberate in her doll collection,” she shared to CNN. “We want them to look like the world.” This is why Grace not only possesses dolls with different races, but also a doll in a wheelchair.
While her collection might already be diverse enough for some, Gisele noticed her daughter’s lack of Muslim dolls. She consulted her friend, Safaa Bokhari, and found out that her daughter also didn’t have dolls wearing hijabs.
The two mothers fancied the idea that they immediately sought the help of a local seamstress for the creation of the tiny hijabs. The accessories are crafted from old hijabs.
Through the Hello Hijab initiative, Gisele and Safaa want kids to know that the traditional headscarf is not a mere accessory, but something that holds much meaning for the Muslim women. Each accessory comes with a card discussing diversity and how these differences can actually unite people.
Safaa admitted that it’s normal for her to encounter discrimination because of her wearing of a hijab. She wants people to know that wearing a hijab is not synonymous to being an alien. She hopes Hello Hijab will help in providing a better and kinder future for her child.
Gisele said that the project was an outcome of her yearning for a “gentle way” to educate children about inclusiveness. She reflects on the significance of “raising a kinder generation” especially with the rampancy of hate crimes.
“Hello Hijab believes that while we may look different and have different beliefs, our similarities far outweigh our differences. We strive for a world where we all live and love together,” the website read.
The online shop will officially accept orders on April 1. Proceeds from the initiative will benefit various local non-profit groups.
In 2007, a similar initiative was launched in West Java, Indonesia. Starting with just seven seamstresses, the Arrosa Muslim doll factory made an effort to dress up generic dolls (as seen in the featured photo) in Muslim clothing. In a few months, hundreds of dolls have sold out.
Meanwhile, in other doll world news, Amy Schumer will no longer give life to the character of Barbie in the upcoming live-action film. When Amy’s casting was first announced, some criticized her for not having a “perfect figure.” She penned an Instagram post addressing her bashers.
“Is it fat shaming if you know you’re not fat and have zero shame in your game? I don’t think so. I am strong and proud of how I live my life and say what I mean and fight for what I believe in and I have a blast doing it with the people I love. Where’s the shame? It’s not there. It’s an illusion.”
She thanked her supporters and extended sympathy to “the trolls who are in more pain than we will ever understand.” Despite her determination to prove to the critics that she’s “a great choice,” Amy’s plans have changed.
“Sadly, I’m no longer able to commit to Barbie due to scheduling conflicts,” she said through a statement to E! Online. “The film has so much promise, and Sony and Mattel have been great partners. I’m bummed, but look forward to seeing Barbie on the big screen.”
A spokesperson for Sony responded that the company respects Amy’s decision and have no ill feelings about it.
According to Deadline, the upcoming Barbie film will follow the life of an imperfect Barbie. She resides in Barbieland which she shares with more than 180 dolls. The lead character finds herself kicked out of the land for failing to reach the dolls’ standard of perfection. She finds herself in the real world where she eventually realizes that being happy may be found by embracing your wholeness.
Many have expressed enthusiasm for the film because of the meaningful tale that it would impart to young viewers.
[Featured Image by Dimas Ardian/Getty Images]