Mattel recently announced the arrival of six special Barbie dolls all crafted in the likeness of influential women like Selma director Ava DuVernay—but little girls won’t actually get to have a DuVernay doll of their very own. While the doll’s announcement came with much fanfare, it also came with widespread disappointment that the doll wouldn’t be mass-produced and sold to the public.
Mattel has had an extensive history of disregarding and disrespecting its Black customers with its scarce selection of Black dolls. When the toy giant finally started releasing Black dolls, it seemed like parents could hardly find one that didn’t flaunt racist undertones and offensive stereotypes with her pre-packaged accessories.
That history is exactly what makes the arrival of the DuVernay doll an exciting event and has driven many women to beg for the doll to be sold to the public.
Currently, all of the “Sheroes” dolls are one-of-a-kind creations of the women they celebrate.
Each of those unique dolls will be auctioned off to a charity selected by each of the women.
The lovely real-life DuVernay took to Twitter to thank Mattel for honoring her with the doll and even revealed that her own experiences with Barbie may have been a part of her finding the inspiration that would eventually make her the first Black woman to be nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture.
“I always played w/ my sisters Jina + Tera. For hours making stories + scenarios,” she tweeted. “So this is special. Thanks, @Barbie.”
“Can we get this released and offered to the public,” one woman tweeted. “I want one for my daughter.”
A flurry of other tweets from parents and young women wanting a DuVernay doll of their very own filled Twitter timelines for hours, but there is no word out yet on whether or not Mattel will consider making more of the dolls to sell.
Black Twitter has certainly demonstrated the ability to influence the market in the past with its major push for more diverse emojis by Apple and urging a publishing company to pull the plug on their book deal with a juror from the George Zimmerman trial.
It isn’t likely that Mattel will make more copies of the DuVernal doll considering its status as a one-of-a-kind doll is what will help drive high priced bids for the collectible.
Perhaps the clear demand for a DuVernay doll will, however, convince Mattel to focus on creating more beautiful Black dolls that create positive perceptions of Black women.