Jordan Reeves had to grow up with dolls that didn’t look like her. The 13-year-old Missouri girl has “an arm that stopped growing before the elbow,” and at age 4, she was upset that none of her dolls had a disability like her.
Now, thanks to her work as a disability activist, other children with a prosthetic limb won’t have to feel the same way as she once did. Starting this summer, a Barbie with a prosthetic leg and wheelchair will be on store shelves.
As co-founder of non-profit Born Just Right, Jordan has worked to “change attitudes around physical differences,” her biography states. She’s petitioned for American Girl to make a one-handed doll, and she invented a prosthetic “glitter” arm.
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Mattel took note of all of Jordan’s hard work, and the brand teamed up with her to create a doll with a prosthetic leg, mother Jen Lee Reeves wrote in a blog post.
Mattel announced earlier this week that the Barbie Fashionistas line is becoming “more reflective of the world girls see around them,” and that includes a doll with a prosthetic leg and wheelchair.
Mattel worked with UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital to design the wheelchair, and the design team worked with Jordan to design the prosthetic limb, CNN reported.
“I’m so proud I could collaborate with Barbie on this!” she posted to Facebook.
Jordan, of Columbia, helped the designers make the prosthetic more realistic, such as by making sure it was removable, according to Teen Vogue.
“That was one of our first big ahas,” Kim Culmone, Mattel’s vice president of Barbie Design, told Teen Vogue. “That’s not necessarily something we would have realized how important it would be to someone living with this experience.”
“Words cannot explain how proud I am of Jordan and the work she’s done for years to make today’s Barbie announcement come true,” Jen Lee Reeves posted to Facebook. “It started with an important ‘aha’ parenting moment when she was four-years-old.”
The Barbie wheelchair is designed after ones used for permanent physical disabilities, ABC News reported, and the doll sold with it “has an articulated body, so she can easily fit in the wheelchair.”
“This year our Barbie line will include dolls reflecting physical disabilities in order to better represent the people and the world kids see around them,” Kim Culmone, Global Head of Design for Barbie, told ABC. “Our commitment to diversity and inclusion is a critical component of our design process and we are proud that today’s kids will know a different image and experience of the brand.”
The doll, which is part of the 2019 Barbie Fashionistas line, will become available in June, CNN reported. The line also features Barbie dolls with “a more realistic body type,” Mashable reported.