Court is now in session thanks to Mattel's latest Barbie Career Doll for 2019. Judge Barbie is now presiding, and not only is she taking the stand in a male-dominated profession, but she's inclusive, too. Here's everything you need to know about Judge Barbie, and where to find her for your little lawmaker.
Since Barbie entered the workforce in 1959, she has had more than 200 careers. She's done everything from studying marine biology and astrophysics to caring for bees as a beekeeper, and healing animals as a veterinarian. She's been a pilot, a firefighter, and dabbled in politics before as a political candidate. According to Mattel, Barbie has run for office in six elections, and even ran on the first all-female President/Vice President ticket in 2016. And it may be more important than ever for her to take on a new legislative role.
A report from the American Constitution Society, called The Gavel Gap, says that women make up only one-third of sitting state judges in the U.S. even though about half of the country's population (and half of American law students) are women. While lawmakers are supposed to be representative of their regions, the average state has one judge who is a woman for every four citizens who are women, the report adds. Barbie is here to change that.
Mattel consulted the National Association of Women Judges to get Judge Barbie's courtroom attire correct, and as representative of most judges' attire as possible. The result: Judge Barbie comes with a traditional black robe with floral dress underneath, black heels, and a lace collar. Of course, her accessory is the gavel and block she'll use to hand down judgments and protect the rights of people everywhere.
Judge Barbie is available in four skin tones so more little girls can have a doll who represents them. The brand's journey toward inclusivity of body types, abilities, and races has made headlines in recent years. It even spawned a Hulu documentary on the process of designing new dolls, called Tiny Shoulders.
Barbie's annual career doll release has become part of the brand's Dream Gap Project, which was announced in 2018, a global initiative to show young girls more role models who look like them in professions usually associated with employing more men than women. The brand is trying to start important conversations with parents and children about factors that normally limit girls in their careers. Those interested can donate to the initiative via its GoFundMe.
The Dream Gap Project website cites research which found that children begin picking up on cultural stereotypes at around 5 years of age, like the idea that women aren't as smart as men, or certain careers are just for boys:
"These stereotypes are often perpetuated by the media and grown-ups who subtly reinforce them," note the site. "The self-limiting beliefs these stereotypes create can snowball to affect a girl's trajectory and future career choices. They may even discourage women to pursue prestigious careers, especially in fields that value brilliance."
Judge Barbie dolls retail for $12.99. They are now available at all the retail locations normally carrying Barbies, including Target, Walmart, Amazon, and more, as well as online at Barbie.com.