Coming Soon: A Hijab for Barbies

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By Jillian Kay Melchior | 2:10 pm, March 14, 2017
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A Pittsburgh mom has launched a line of hijabs for Barbie dolls, an effort to help expose children to diverse cultures and people.

Brazilian-born Gisele Barreto Fetterman, who is not Muslim, told Heat Street the idea for the Barbie hijabs began shortly after her daughter got glasses. She wanted matching spectacles for some of her dolls.

“I saw how important it was for her to be represented with her dolls,” Fetterman said. “So I thought, who’s not represented? Who’s missing?”

Though Fetterman has gone out of her way to ensure that her daughter has a diverse collection of Barbies, she noticed that the market offered slim pickings when it came to Muslim dolls. Fetterman consulted with Muslim friends and even scheduled a meeting with the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh to discuss her idea.

“This only moved forward after a lot of meetings and a lot of listening, and it was overwhelmingly positive,” Fetterman said. “The response was, ‘There isn’t a lot of representation, and we’d be honored to have it.’”

Fetterman’s Hello Hijab line will launch April 1, sold through For Good Pittsburgh, a nonprofit she founded with another local mom. The doll hijabs cost $6, and proceeds will be put toward charitable work.

Each Barbie hijab comes with a tiny label, as well as a brief history of the garment and a reminder that “even though our beliefs vary greatly, we have much more similarities,” Fetterman told Heat Street.

“I hope that we’re raising a kinder generation,” Fetterman said. “And if our children are playing with dolls that look like all kinds of people, when they grow up and meet these people, I hope they’re going to be a lot kinder than generations before them.”