In 2017, I wrote a post about how disappointed I was to hear that Barbie's friend, Becky was discontinued because her wheelchair didn't fit into the Barbie house. Barbie's creator, Mattel introduced a new friend of Barbie's named Becky. Becky uses a wheelchair. When I found out that Mattel had got rid of Becky, I was annoyed and disappointed because even though I had never played with any Barbies, I thought that it would help "normalise" disabilities. It could even help both children and adults become more accepting towards different disabilities. Recently, Mattel have brought Becky back with new friends.
I'm very pleased about this because as many people (including myself) have said before, this actually highlights some of the difficulties that disabled people face in real life, but you can't just get rid of these people, you make access better. I'm pleased that they've finally realised this, and they are making access better instead of throwing Becky out the window completely.
Personally, I have never played with any Barbies because the dolls and the accessories were too small and fiddly for me to hold let alone play with them, but I still have a strong opinion on this. Alright, it's very unlikely that there will be a doll to represent every disability, I admit that, but I think that this is a massive step in the right direction.
As well as Becky, "Mattel" have introduced several other dolls that have different disabilities. Another one of these dolls has a removable prosthetic leg. I think that this is a fantastic idea because lots of children probably play with the Barbie dolls, and introducing dolls with disabilities will hopefully have a positive impact on the attitude that the children have towards disabilities. Furthermore, those children who have disabilities themselves are likely to feel happy because they are represented more now that these dolls have been brought out
To be honest, I think that these dolls may help adults as well as children because children only learn the behaviour that others teach them, this includes adults. If children are with adults, and the adults are behaving negatively towards disabilities, then I believe that the children probably copy that behaviour. This will almost certainly have a knock-on effect later into their life and their children's lives. If the parents are accepting different disabilities, the children will be taught to have the same outlook, which is great!
Another factor that will effect everybody is that if different disabilities are kept in the mainstream media, everybody (able-bodied children, able-bodied adults, disabled children, disabled adults), people would get used to disabilities being there, so then it will become the "norm" to see people with disabilities, and no one would bat an eyelid. This would be excellent because there would be no more derogatory comments and no more people staring because some people are "different", but unfortunately I don't think that this would work everywhere in the world.
Thank you for reading this blog post... I would love to hear what your views are about this, so please feel free to comment. Do you think that this will help change people's attitudes towards disabilities?