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Barbie goes inclusive, launches line of dolls with disabilities

Love her or hate, the Barbie doll is something many little girls have played with or longed for. Launched 60 years ago, these dolls have often been criticized for promoting the perfect body image of tall, blonde and thin.

Over the years, Barbie has tried to correct that perception by launching black, brown-skinned and dolls in hijabs. The latest in the list are Barbies on wheelchairs and with prosthetic limbs, a move that has been welcomed across the globe.

Experts say that when children play with dolls that look like them, it helps boost their self-esteem and confidence levels and that the idea of launching a line of dolls with disabilities will help spread a positive image.

Priya Bhargava, a wheelchair user and beauty pageant winner loved playing with Barbie dolls as a childf and welcomes the new inclusive version.

Barbie has always been a favourite for many people including me. I have always admired its dresses, hair styles, heels, and what not. These new Barbie additions are certainly a great initiative. There are many people who feel that they are not pretty because they have a disability. These new Barbies can break the mental barrier for sure. It is going to change the mindset of those with and without disabilities. We will also learn to love ourselves more. -Priya Bhargava, Beauty pageant winner

Reports are that Mattel Inc., a leading American toy company behind the Barbie line spent much time working closely with young children and adults with disabilities to get a detailed insight into designing the inclusive line.

An approach that blogger Vinayana Khurana hopes will help change mindsets.

"I am so happy that this thought has come into people's mind. We all run after perfections. But life is not perfect. Disabled dolls could change the perspective of a child towards other people with disabilities. That way, we can strive more towards inclusion", she says.

Social media was flooded with messages that supported Mattel's new move towards inclusion.

What an interesting way to plant #DiversityandInclusion mindset. #Barbie aims for inclusion as #Mattel unveils doll who uses wheelchair and one with a prosthetic limb - GMA - @GMA Think equal, build smart, innovate for change", tweeted Anjali Kulshreshta.

"This makes me so happy! Thank you Barbie!", tweeted Tiffany Ervin.

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