Long gone are the days where barbie dolls were an unrealistic and backwards representation of women. Mattel’s latest addition is a barbie-sized version of female director Ava DuVernay, which is now being mass produced in a major step forward for diversity and gender inequality within the film industry.
Originally created as part of Mattel’s “Sheroes” series, including other honourees like Eva Chen, Trisha Yearwood and Emmy Rossum, Ava’s doll was made available for purchase this week and is already sold out on The Barbie Collection website.
It’s not hard to see why. Coming with a director’s chair, the barbie has the power to encourage young girls to venture into an industry which has long been dominated by white men.
43-year-old Ava, the first black female director to be nominated for the Academy Awards’ Best Picture, is chuffed to be able to highlight gender inequality in her industry.
“It’s pretty fantastic — particularly at this moment where the dearth of women filmmakers getting opportunity and access to make what they want is such a conversation, that I’m thrilled this particular profession is being amplified,” she told Buzzfeed.
“When we say there’s a dearth of women directors, it’s not that there’s a lack of women who direct, it’s a lack of opportunities and access for women to direct and be supported in that,” she continued, adding to a discussion strong amongst female figures in the industry at present. “I hope that this can contribute to that conversation as well.
The Selma director also believes that this doll can help people understand that black women do not all fit into a societal stereotype. “People have really been kind talking about why they are embracing this doll, but it’s certainly not about me. It’s about the image. That’s what they’re responding to,” she explained to Buzzfeed.
“It’s about balance. It’s about the full spectrum of who we are. It’s not enough even to have one black Barbie… because black women are not a monolith. We have all different kinds of hair, all different kinds of occupations, all different kinds of passions, so I think what folks might be responding to is the variance.”