Barbie has undergone quite a few transformations lately, earning the iconic doll a non-conformist reputation that many women have welcomed.
Now, not only is Barbie not necessarily an Anglo-Saxon Amazon, but in case people were tempted to assume otherwise, she doesn’t necessarily hold to the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Meet Hijarbie, the hijab-wearing Muslim Barbie created by Nigerian medical scientist Haneefa Adam.
Adam began posting Instagram photos of her creation a few weeks ago, around the same time Mattel released its new line of tall, curvy, petite and multiracial Barbies. Since then, she has gained international attention.
“I thought I had not seen Barbie dressed in a hijab before so I decided to open an Instagram account and dressed Barbie up in the clothes that I made,” Adam, 24, told CNN. “I thought it was really important for a doll to be dressed like how I would be.”
Adam, who recently completed her Masters in Pharmacology in the U.K., describes Hijarbie as a “modest doll” and a suitable role model for Muslim girls.
“It has roots in my religion and cultural identity,” she explained. “The way Barbie dresses is very skimpy and different and there’s nothing wrong with it. I just wanted to give another option for Muslim girls like me.
And just like the new variety of Barbie bodies and skin tones, Adam’s Hijarbie, who has her own Instagram account, has been a screaming success. Hijarbie currently has over 19,400 followers on Instagram.
“I want to use the Instagram page to create an identity for her similar to Barbie,” Adam told CNN. She has received requests from around the world from women who want to purchase the dolls.
As of now, there is only one Hijarbire, and she’s white. Adam said she plans to eventually expand her account to include dolls of color, but this would require her to order them from abroad.
“I couldn’t find the different types in Nigeria (no Amazon or eBay or anything),” she explained. “I’d have loved to dress up a black doll myself too. I’ve ordered for some internationally and they’ll soon be here.”
But not everyone was in favor of Barbie’s recent conversion. Adam has received negative comments from people who believe that Muslim women who wear the veils are “oppressed.”
“People think that when Muslim women cover up they are forced to. (The) majority of us are not,” she said, adding, “We want to cover up and express our religion. But a lot of Muslims don’t cover their hair and it doesn’t make them any less of a Muslim.”
Adam called Hijarbie a “great platform” to help guide the public perception of Muslim women and “correct some misconceptions.”