Diverse And Distinct: 35+ Barbies Shattering Stereotypes
Back in 1959, Mattel introduced a game-changing doll named Barbie, which became an integral part of the childhoods of many millennials and Gen-Z kids. You might fondly recall spending hours playing with them, swapping outfits, concocting intricate storylines, and more. And who could forget the exhilaration that bubbled up whenever Mattel unveiled a new Barbie!
Most of us were familiar with the stereotypical Barbie, with blonde hair, long legs, and blue eyes. However, after catching Greta Gerwig’s take on Barbie, we decided to take a deeper dive into Mattel’s diverse range of Barbie dolls. In this post, let’s chat about some fantastic, and maybe not-so-fantastic but certainly unique, Barbie dolls.
Barbie That Speaks and Listens!
We won’t lie; this Barbie definitely creeped us out. Before the onset of AI and voice recognition tools, Mattel introduced the Hello Barbie in 2015. This Barbie didn’t just talk (like earlier dolls) but also listened to the children! Privacy issues have entered the chat.
Back in 2017, Mattel had to bid farewell to Hello Barbie because the voice recordings of kids were being uploaded to the Internet for processing. These recordings were also stored on the servers of ToyTalk, an entertainment technology company that had joined forces with Mattel for this Barbie venture.
Karl Lagerfeld Barbie
As the name suggests, Mattel released a special Karl Lagerfeld Barbie in collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld, the famous German fashion designer, in 2014. This Barbie wore the signature outfit that Karl Lagerfeld wore, including the accessories. It also had a similar kind of silver hair.
Karl Lagerfeld Barbie was quite pricey as an individual piece cost around $200! It was also a limited edition, as only 999 models were manufactured. Initially, Mattel would produce more varieties of this doll, but Karl didn’t want poor people to afford it. Tragic.
The Friendly-Neighborhood Barbie
Mattel came up with a Grandpa Doll in 2003. This doll was definitely unusual but also wholesome. People could actually make their Barbies visit their grandparents! It was a part of the “Happy Family” set and came with many side pieces for decoration.
The doll packaging offers pacifiers, blankets, rattles, drumsticks, and a baby too. The brand was spot-on with the items, as grandparents love to shower their grandkids with abundant gifts! The Grandpa Doll’s woven sweater and glasses go perfectly with the theme too.
Did you know that Mattel created a Barbie version of Queen Elizabeth II? It released the Barbie Signature Queen Elizabeth II in 2022 to celebrate her Platinum Jubilee and 96th birthday. Right from her attire to her hairstyle, Mattel did an excellent job!
The Queen Elizabeth II Barbie wears a beautiful tiara, which is a replica of the Queen Mary fringe tiara. The doll’s royal ivory dress is similar to the outfits that the Queen has worn throughout her lifetime. You’ll also see the blue sash with badges attached to it.
The Rendezvous Barbie Masquerade
This is one of the oldest Barbies on the list! Mattel manufactured the Rendezvous Barbie Masquerade in 1998. It has clearly put in a lot of effort to come up with a unique Barbie dress that complements the fashion trends of the 90s.
The Rendezvous Barbie is a part of the Masquerade collection. The collection also features other Barbie models, like the Illusion Barbie Masquerade and the Venetian Opulence Barbie. All three of them have elaborate and colorful gowns with decorative masks! Today, they’re worth hundreds of dollars.
Barbie’s Sister – Skipper Doll
Did you know that Barbie has a sister named Skipper? We were pleasantly surprised to discover this fact when we stumbled upon the Skipper Doll that Mattel introduced back in 1964. In the 1970s, the company made a few tweaks to this young doll.
When a person rotated the Skipper Doll’s left arm, the doll grew a little in height. The controversial part was that her breasts also developed! Due to this reason, Mattel was accused of sexualizing teenage girls and had to discontinue the doll.
Becky, The Wheelchair Barbie
You might have mixed feelings about Becky, the wheelchair-ridden friend of Barbie. Mattel came up with Wheelchair Barbie to focus more on inclusivity in 1997. Yet, the issue was that Becky’s wheelchair didn’t even fit in the Dreamhouse elevator, which led to several redesign attempts.
In 2019, Mattel finally got it right and released two new Barbies in the Fashionista line. One Barbie is in a wheelchair, whereas the other has a prosthetic leg. The brand also decided to include a Barbie DreamHouse-compatible ramp for the wheelchair.
Reba McEntire Barbie
If you’re a Gen-Z, you may not know who Reba Mcentire is! She was an American singer and the most popular female country artist in the 80s and 90s. Mattel released the Reba McEntire Doll in 2011 as a part of the Pink Label Collection.
The best part about the doll is the dress! The gorgeous red dress is inspired by Reba’s hit song “Fancy,” which she used to sing at the end of her concerts. The doll also comes with a microphone. Reba even posted about the doll on Barbie’s 60th anniversary in 2019.
George Washington Barbie
It looks like Mattel had history buffs in mind when they crafted the George Washington Barbie in 1996. This Barbie was a limited edition and was inspired by none other than George Washington, the first president of the United States!
Mattel dressed the Barbie in the form of a military general with an oversized coat, vest, and a plumed hat. The only difference? Since it was a female version of George Washington, they changed the robe color to pink. It is certainly a revolutionary Barbie.
The Haunted Beauty Mistress Of The Manor Barbie
If you’re a fan of Wednesday Addams or Morticia Addams from the Netflix show Wednesday, you’ll love this Barbie. Mattel released the Haunted Beauty Mistress of the Manor Barbie Doll in 2014. She’s the epitome of the haunted Victorian aesthetic.
This Barbie checks all the boxes of looking like a haunted mistress stuck inside a manor. She wears a plum gown with puffy sleeves and a sweeping skirt. The doll also holds keys and a traditional candle holder, making her look mysterious and hauntingly beautiful.
Not-So-Little Red Riding Hood Barbie
We’ve all read the story of the Little Red Riding Hood as kids. Mattel brought this bedtime tale to life by manufacturing the Barbie Little Red Riding Hood And The Wolf in 2008. The set comes with a Barbie, along with a basket of food and a wolf!
The company did a great job at creating a scary-looking wolf! However, most people cannot say the same about the doll. Unlike the original story where Little Red Riding Hood is actually “little”, Barbie looks like an adult version due to the bold makeup and outfit.
Barbie Video Girl Doll
There were times when Mattel mixed technology and art. In 2009, the brand came up with Barbie Video Girl Doll. It wasn’t an ordinary Barbie but a doll with an embedded video camera! As you can imagine, this did not go down well with the public and the FBI.
In 2010, the FBI issued a memo against this Barbie, stating that pedophiles could get their hands on it and use it for child pornography. Note that there were no such cases reported. Yet, Mattel discontinued the doll in 2012 for child safety and privacy.
Mattel partnered up with Oreo Biscuits and developed an Oreo-inspired Barbie in 2001! It was known as the Oreo Barbie and came in both African-American and White versions. The whole idea behind this barbie was that she enjoyed eating Oreo biscuits with her friends.
You won’t find the Oreo Barbie in stores as it was discontinued due to a major controversy related to the African-American version! Many people believe that the term “Oreo” is derogatory as it is often used to describe Black people who behave like White people.
The McBarbie and McKelly
We’re McLovin’ this McDonald’s version of Barbie and her sister, Kelly. Mattel released the McDonald’s Fun Time Barbie And Kelly Dolls in 2001. The doll is a perfect reflection of how Barbie would look working at a McDonald’s, along with her sister!
The McDonald’s Barbie comes with a cash register, a McDonald’s apron, and even an adorable tray with French fries and a burger on it! Now, we want to purchase this set and fulfill our dream of having a fast-food joint too.
Heidi Klum Barbie
If you’ve grown up watching iconic movies like Ella Enchanted or The Devil Wears Prada, you might already know who Heidi Klum is! She’s a German-American model who has starred in various supporting roles in movies and series. In 2009, Mattel created a Barbie version of Heidi Klum.
The Heidi Klum Barbie is a part of the famous Barbie’s Blonde Ambition Collection. It features some of the well-known blondes in the entertainment and fashion industry. The Barbie looks gorgeous with her glamorous dress and accessories. Not as breathtaking as the real Heidi Klum, though!
Barbie’s Friend Rosie O’Donnell
Mattel collaborated with the American comedian and television producer Rosie O’Donnell to create a similar Barbie in 1999. Rosie shot to fame after starting her own television talk show, The Rosie O’Donnell Show, where she also invited many celebrity guests.
The Rosie O’Donnell Barbie was released in 1999. It was one of the legendary pieces, as it celebrated the curvy body type, unlike the usual body type of other Barbies! The Rosie Barbie also came with various other items, including a microphone and an activity book.
Jude Deveraux – The Raider Ken and Barbie
We love historical romance books, so this Barbie set was a pleasant surprise! In 2003, Mattel developed a Barbie set inspired by Jude Deveraux’s story, The Raider. It features Ken as Alex (the male protagonist) and Barbie as Jessica (the female protagonist) of The Raider.
Well, the result didn’t turn out as well as the readers might have imagined. It looks as if Ken is rolling his eyes, while Barbie seems like she’d rather be anywhere else than in his arms. Still, it’s great to see some recognition for romance book lovers!
Barbie and Her Pooping Dog
You have to know about this Barbie if you’ve owned a dog in the past! Mattel released a Barbie with her labrador retriever, Tanner, in 2006. If you’re wondering what’s so unusual in this, you need to know that the dog ate his own poop!
The Barbie set came with a dog and brown-colored plastic pellets. You had to feed the pellets to the dog. When you pushed its tail downwards, the pellet would come out as poop! Needless to say, the company discontinued the piece in 2010. Mattel should get an A for weird innovations.
Medusa Barbie – You Might Turn Into a Stone!
This is one of our favorite Barbies on the list! The Medusa Barbie was designed as a part of the Greek Goddess Series in 2008. It was a limited edition with just 5,400 pieces. Unlike other Barbie dolls, this one was meant for adults only.
We love the detailing in the Medusa Barbie. The outfit has snake-like vibes, a green corset, and a long fishtail skirt. The snake accessories, including earrings and snake arm cuffs, are simply beautiful. If you look at the doll’s hairstyle, you’ll see how the curls resemble snakes too!
Barbie Wash & Watch
Mattel might have been out of ideas when they came up with Barbie Wash & Watch! The Barbie set comes with a Barbie and an adorable dishwasher. The fun part about the dishwasher is that the dishes change color from pink to purple after being washed.
Imagine washing dishes after a tiring day and then seeing your kid playing with a Barbie who is also washing dishes. So, who’s going to tell them that adulthood is all about cleaning dishes after an exhausting 8-hour work shift?
The Birds Barbie Doll
Mattel had a Pop Culture collection that featured an Alfred Hitchcock Barbie. The brand released Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds Barbie Doll in 2008. If you’ve watched the movie The Birds, you’ll see that Barbie resembles the character Melanie Daniels, played by Tippi Hedren.
Interestingly enough, this Barbie is recreating a famous scene in the movie. In the shot, Melanie Daniels is wearing a green dress (just like Barbie’s) while being attacked by a flock of birds in a phone booth! This scene is one of the most important ones in the movie.
Rappin’ Rockin’ Barbie Doll
This Barbie is the dream doll for every kid or adult out there who has been obsessed with rap songs! Mattel came up with the idea of a rap-inspired Barbie and released one in 1991. This Barbie’s outfit screams the 90s rap aesthetic with the leather jacket, boots, and gold chain.
Don’t just focus on the wardrobe; the Barbie set also included a boombox that could actually play songs. We’re pretty convinced this might be the coolest doll on the list. Mattel even rolled out a commercial featuring its very own rap song for Barbie!
Haunted Beauty Ghost Barbie
Goth lovers would absolutely love the Haunted Beauty Ghost Barbie. Released in 2012, this Barbie was a part of the Haunted Beauty Collection. This is not an ordinary Barbie, as it cost around $100 when it was first released. The price is justified if you look at her elaborate dress!
The Haunted Beauty Ghost Barbie has one of the most breathtaking outfits among all the other Barbie dolls. The off-white gown with bell sleeves and countless ruffles makes her seem like a magnificent ghost on a mission to take revenge for her murdered husband and children!
Barbie Lounge Kitties White Tiger
Mattel had a Lounge Kitties collection back in 2003. The White Tiger Barbie, as shown in the picture, was also a part of the same collection! It looks like Barbie was a part of the furry fandom with its cat-like features.
The cat-like appearance isn’t the only weird thing! Take a look at the heel-shaped couch with the leopard print on it. The manufacturers tried to do too many things and ended up making the doll look like she was straight out of The Cats movie.
Kool-Aid makes us nostalgic because it has been a huge part of our childhoods. This American drink got pretty popular among moms and their kids. In the ’90s, Mattel banked on this popularity by releasing a special-edition Barbie, named Kool-Aid Wacky Warehouse!
The Kool-Aid Barbie came in various flavors, hitting the scene in 1992, 1993, and 1994, each time sporting different multicolored summer outfits and a trusty Kool-Aid bag! Other than the snazzy clothes and the Barbie herself, the set didn’t come with any extra frills.
Elvis and Priscilla Barbie
Did you know that Mattel released dolls of Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley in 2008? Elvis Presley is one of the most popular American singers of all time. He met Priscilla when she was just 14 years old, and he was 24. Thank goodness, they got married when Priscilla turned 21!
The set features two dolls in wedding attire. You can also see an exclusive picture of Elvis and Priscilla from their wedding. These dolls are not meant for kids, but for those who love to collect dolls, especially Elvis fans.
Romeo and Juliet Barbie
Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare is the one tragic love story that almost everyone in the world knows. There are many movies, shows, and books based on it. The surprising thing is that Mattel released Ken as Romeo and Barbie as Juliet dolls in 1997 too!
The Romeo and Juliet Barbie includes Ken dressed in a Romeo-inspired outfit consisting of a close-fitting jacket and tights. On the other hand, Juliet Barbie is decked up in an ornamental flowing gown. Our 16-year-old selves would’ve loved these dolls.
The Twilight Jane Barbie
The Twilight fever got to Barbie manufacturers, too! They released a whole line of Twilight-inspired Barbie characters, including Bella, Jane, Edward, Jacob, and many more. The Twilight Jane Barbie represents Jane, the high-ranking member of the Volturi guard in the book/movie series.
In the Twilight movies, you can see Jane wearing a cloak and having dark makeup. Similarly, the Jane Barbie doll is wearing a rich black cloak too. You can also see the dark makeup and red eyes, just like Jane from the movie!
Teen Talk Barbie
We’ve already talked about a Barbie that speaks and listens. Yet, before that, Mattel created a Teen Talk Barbie in 1992 that spoke four different phrases. The company recorded 270 phrases. Each doll’s voice box had four random phrases like “Let’s plan our dream wedding” and “Want to go shopping?”.
There was one particular phrase, “Math class is tough,” that got into a major controversy! The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics in the US protested against it, as the teachers thought it discouraged young girls from studying and understanding math.
TommyXGigi Barbie Doll
Many celebrities have a Barbie of their own, including Gigi Hadid. In our opinion, this doll is one of the best celebrity dolls of all time! Right from the hairstyle to the features to the minimal Gen-Z outfit, the Gigi Hadid Barbie slays hard.
Mattel collaborated with Gigi Hadid and Tommy Hilfiger to release this doll in 2017. Hence, you’ll notice that Gigi’s sweatshirt has Tommy Hilfiger’s brand symbol on it. The doll’s appearance is also based on Tommy Hilfiger’s Fall 2016 Ready-to-Wear runway event.
Vintage Oreo Barbie
We’ve delved into the world of the Oreo Barbie, which Mattel introduced in 2001. But before that, the company had also unveiled a Vintage Oreo Barbie in a delightful collaboration with Oreo biscuits. This special edition Barbie came dressed in an Oreo-inspired wardrobe that was simply delicious!
The Vintage (we don’t understand what is vintage in this doll) Oreo Barbie wore a jacket and T-shirt with Oreos printed on it! The best thing is the Oreo-shaped bag. This Barbie would’ve been a perfect gift for a kid who loved Oreos.
Rollerblading is fun, and so is this Rollerblade Barbie! Mattel introduced this Barbie in 1992. It comes with a set of adorable pink rollerblades and knee pads too. This reminds us of the Barbie-Ken rollerskating in their neon outfits in the movie Barbie.
Sometimes, Mattel pays a lot of attention to detail. In this set, the rollerblades flash when you make your Barbie skate! As a kid, we would’ve loved to play with a fancy and cool rollerblading Barbie with skates that lit up.
An Alien Barbie
In 2012, the Empress of the Aliens Barbie was released. It was literally an otherworldly Barbie, as it resembled an alien. This Barbie was a part of the Space Goddess Series, and the company only produced 4,800 pieces of it!
This Barbie has a unique dressing style, unlike the other dolls on the list. The outfit feels sci-fi with neon and iridescent shades and geometrical designs. You can also see that the hairstyle with the horns on top of it completes the intergalactic look.
Birthing Dog Barbie Set
The Birthing Dog Barbie Set is one of the most abnormal Barbie sets that you would come across! It has a Barbie and various equipment to help her dog deliver puppies. Why would they want kids to deliver a dog’s puppies is out of our understanding!
If the kids want to play with Barbie and her dog, they would have to place the three puppies inside the dog’s belly. Then, remove them from there and keep them in a paw-shaped basket! The set also came with other cute accessories like a milk bottle and bathing items.
Star Trek Barbie Set
You need to take a look at this Barbie set if you love Star Trek! Mattel released the Star Trek Barbie Set in 1996 to celebrate the franchise’s 30th anniversary. The set comes with a Barbie and a Ken dressed up in classic Star Trek uniforms.
Janice Rand inspired Barbie’s outfit whereas Ken wore Captain Kirk’s gold command division top with black pants. You can also see the printed cutouts of Kirk and Spock on the packaging. We wish Barbie was the captain and not the lieutenant!
Midge, The Pregnant Barbie
It is admirable how Mattel has tried to include everybody, including pregnant women. The brand introduced Midge, the pregnant friend of Barbie, in 2002. She came with a magnetic baby bump and a newborn baby. This way, you could attach the baby bump to make the Barbie look pregnant.
The original set offered a crib, which could be turned into a table or cradle! It also had tiny accessories, like baby’s toys, a blanket, and a milk bottle. We would have loved this doll as we’d not have to stuff clothes inside Barbie’s tummy to make her seem pregnant.
Rap King – Ken!
Just like the rap Barbie, Mattel also produced a rapping Ken in 1991. The concept was similar to the Rappin’ Rockin’ Barbie Doll. It had a Ken dressed up in 90s rap clothing and a boombox that played songs too.
The rap Barbie wore a skirt and a leather jacket. Yet, Ken’s style was a bit different, as he wore an oversized jumper and loose pants. And of course, Mattel added the signature gold chain of every rapper out there!
The Chewbacca Doll
Did you ever think that Chewbacca from Star Wars could be transformed into a glamorous Barbie? Well, we were surprised when we saw this Chewbacca doll! In collaboration with Star Wars, Mattel designed the Star Wars Chewbacca x Barbie Doll in 2020.
The Chewbacca doll looks like a much tamer version of the real Chewbacca. She is wearing a fur dress, fur boots, and a Chewbacca’s bandolier and satchel-inspired handbag too. Apart from the Chewbacca doll, Mattel also released the Stormtrooper Barbie doll and Princess Leia doll.
You might’ve seen many unusual Barbies by now. This is an unusual Ken because the whole set is based on shaving! The Shaving Ken Doll comes with shaving cream, shaver, and other such things. Mattel tried to make it more fun by changing the beard’s color.
When you shave Ken’s beard, the area’s color changes to his normal skin tone. You can also grow his beard back again. Keeping aside the shaving part, Ken looks like he is going through a massive midlife crisis in this set!
The Kissing Barbie takes us on a nostalgic trip, as it graced the Barbie scene back in 1978. Barbie dons an enchanting pink dress and is accompanied by a single lipstick in the set. What sets this Barbie apart is her charming ability to give real kisses!
You need to apply the lipstick on Barbie’s lips, and then make her kiss something (preferably, Ken!). Her lips would pluck up and make a kissing noise. They would also leave a kissing mark. This Barbie is perfect for all the singles out there struggling to find a partner too!
The Coca-Cola Cheerleader Barbie
Over the years, Mattel collaborated with many brands to come up with special Barbie dolls. In 2000, it released the Coca-Cola Cheerleader Barbie (stereotypical!). It was the fourth Barbie in the Coca-Cola series. The whole idea behind this Barbie was to celebrate Friday night football games with ice-cold cokes.
The cheerleader Barbie comes in the standard cheerleading uniform. She’s wearing a sleeveless sweater with a Coca-Cola logo, along with a red skirt. You can also see Ken’s jacket with his name on it. Seems like Barbie is too eager to cheer for Ken and Coca-Cola.
Barbie’s Tattoo Set
If there’s one Barbie set that we would love to see again on the racks, it’s the Barbie’s Tattoo Set! The set offers 40 tattoos for both kids and Barbie. Apart from that, it also has three chill outfits to dress up your Barbie.
Mattel unveiled this Barbie set right in the midst of Barbie mania in 2008! The inclusion of a tattoo gun in the set adds a dash of realism, allowing you to step into the shoes of a tattoo artist for some extra fun.
Some Barbies make you question “Why even?” and this is one of them. The Shoe Obsession Barbie Doll was a Collector piece designed by Linda Kyaw. As the name suggests, this Barbie is full of shoes if you see her outfit and accessories!
The Shoe Obsession doll wears a graceful white tulle dress. Unfortunately, it is ruined by the excessive sandals and heels fitted inside her tulle. Ignore the dress, even the necklace is made up of shoes. This Barbie definitely has some is-shoes.
Teresa, The Baywatch Barbie
Teresa, the Baywatch Barbie, made her debut courtesy of Mattel in 1994. She’s undoubtedly one of the most stunning Barbies around, with her sun-kissed complexion, flowing locks, and athletic physique. Plus, she’s a trailblazer in terms of the unconventional jobs Barbies are typically depicted in!
The Baywatch doll comes fully equipped with all the lifeguard essentials: a whistle, rescue buoy, cap, and binoculars. And if that’s not enough fun, the set also includes extras like a frisbee and a surfboard. Ready for some beachside action!
The Ke-rring Doll
You’re in for a wild story when it comes to Earring Magic Ken, a Ken doll released by Mattel in 1992. This doll was the highest-selling Ken doll as it was seen as a representation of the LGBTQ, especially the gay community, in the 90s.
Sadly, Mattel discontinued the Earring Magic Ken in just some time due to controversies regarding Ken’s “unusual” clothing and fashion style. Moreover, many people seem to think that the necklace represents something more than just an “earring”. Take a look and think about it!
Elton John Barbie
Elton John, the British singer, has a Barbie dedicated to him. In October 2020, he collaborated with Mattel to release a limited-edition Elton John doll. This release was dedicated to celebrating Elton’s 45-year anniversary of having the largest single-artist concert!
The Elton John Barbie doll wears a rainbow-colored bomber jacket and flared denim pants similar to his stage costumes. The outfit has the initials “E” and “J” on it. You also cannot forget the iconic rainbow-colored glasses and bowler hat of Elton John!
Tattoo’s Butterfly Art Ken
Before the Tattoo Barbie set, Mattel had already ventured into the tattoo scene with Tattoo’s Butterfly Art Ken in 1998. This set included a Ken doll along with a collection of butterfly tattoo decorations that you could apply to the doll or even wear yourself.
Unlike your typical Ken dolls, this one sports a stylish fine-mesh shirt and shorts combo. It’s a wonder Mattel didn’t find themselves in another fashion controversy with an outfit like that. But hey, it makes sense, considering the doll is gearing up for a tattoo session!