New Ideas In Female Identities: Hijarbie Barbie


One woman in Nigeria has some ideas to make Barbie, the iconic Valley Girl of the toy department, more…diverse.  Haneefah Adam, 24, was studying for her master’s degree in England when she came up with the idea of a Barbie doll that reflected HER…in a hijab, covered from head to toe.

“It got me thinking about how I’d actually like to see a doll dressed up like I would have — covered up,” the designer told Mic.

In the past week, the “Hijarbie” has been a hit on Instagram as Adam has posted pictures of her Barbies wearing clothes that she made for them.  As a sewing crafts person, the actual craftsmanship of the clothing for Barbie featuring a hijab or an abaya is quite well done.  And if Ms. Adam would like to start a business making and marketing hijarbie clothing, that’s totally up to her.  For people who dress that way, it may well be a big seller.


However, Ms. Adam has gone the route so many others of her persuasion have.  She’s playing the guilt card, and the diversity smitten media is falling for it, calling her idea and optional clothing for Barbie “trendy” among other glowing headlines.

“I want them to be inspired — this is about having an alternative and creating an awareness of having toys that adopts your religion and culture and in your own likeness, which at the end of the day, leads to an improvement in self-esteem,” Adam told Mic.

The goal for Adam is to show young girls who wear hijabs that they’re just as beautiful as their little companion.

“They become more confident, more driven, they believe more in themselves, which leads to an appreciation of herself and her modest lifestyle and upbringing. Instead of dressing up her dolls in clothes she wouldn’t wear, hijabifying it will create a sense of belonging and hopefully make a positive impact,” she said.

(So far as I know, no good Catholic girl has come up with Barbie in a Habit, or Penguin Barbie complete with nun-chucker and fire coming out of her mouth, so this woman might be onto something. I mean, after all this IS part of my culture, and the nuns are all covered up all the time.)

So, no, Mattel is not cranking out a new Barbie variety to go along with the classic, the short, the more round, and what ever else they dreamed up.  One woman is wishing for them to reflect her culture without her actually working to make that happen other than providing some prototype clothing.  It’s just messing with one more icon in western culture whether the doll is realistic or not.

Really, come on, hands off the Barbies.

About the Author

Cultural Limits
A resident of Flyover Country, Cultural Limits is a rare creature in American Conservatism - committed to not just small government, Christianity and traditional social roles, but non-profits and high arts and culture. Watching politics, observing human behavior and writing are all long-time interests. In her other life, CL writes romance novels under her nom de plume, Patricia Holden (@PatriciaHoldenAuthor on Facebook), and crochets like a mad woman (designs can be found on Facebook @BohemianFlairCrochet and on Pinterest on the Bohemian Flair Crochet board). In religion, CL is Catholic; in work, the jill of all trades when it comes to fundraising software manipulation and event planning; in play, a classically trained soprano and proud citizen of Cardinal Nation, although, during hockey season, Bleeds Blue. She lives in the Mid-Mississippi River Valley with family and two cute and charming tyrants...make that toy dogs.