Barbie just got hit with a dose of Hollywood awesomeness, and her name is Ava DuVernay.

The doll manufacturer put the doll into mass production in response to demand.

In April, Mattel announced plans to create Barbie dolls modeled after six inspirational women.

The women they honored have done great work in the entertainment, media, and fashion industries: country artist Trisha Yearwood, fashion designer Sydney "Mayhem" Keiser, actresses Emmy Rossum and Kristin Chenoweth, Lucky Editor-in-Chief Eva Chen, and director Ava DuVernay.


The plan was to make a single doll for each woman on the "Sheroes" line. Then Mattel took it a step further.

The initial idea was simple (and great): make one doll for each "Shero," auction them off, and let the women behind the dolls' likenesses decide which charity the proceeds would go to.


But over the weekend, Mattel announced it would be mass-producing at least one of the dolls — Ava DuVernay's. All proceeds from sales of the "Selma" director's Barbie will be going to charities Color of Change and Witness.


But perhaps the coolest thing about the announcement of DuVernay's Barbie was the response from her fans.

Monday morning, people excitedly awaited details on how they could purchase one of the Ava Barbies. Some wanted one to give to their sons, daughters, nieces, or nephews; others just wanted to buy one for themselves (and hey, who says adults can't have dolls, anyway?).


For all the positivity Barbie has brought to the world, two of the near-constant critiques have been the lack of diversity in the line and the promotion of unrealistic beauty standards. This doll addresses at least one of those problems, expanding the universe of possibilities for the Barbie-faithful of the world.


Actress Parisa Fitz-Henley, most recently seen as Reva on Netflix's "Jessica Jones," shared her excitement over the new possibilities and inspirations others will be able to draw from a powerful figure like DuVernay being represented in a beloved, universally known toy.


It seems like the people at Barbie are really upping their game.

As mentioned above, the company hasn't had a perfect track record when it comes to things like representation and body image. The good news is that it seems they're making some steps in the right direction.

DuVernay was the first black woman to be nominated for the Oscar for best director. Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images.

"Started by a female entrepreneur and mother, this brand has a responsibility to continue to honor and encourage powerful female role models who are leaving a legacy for the next generation of glass ceiling breakers," Barbie General Manager Evelyn Mazzocco said in an April press release about the "Sheroes" line.

In addition to the DuVernay doll, Mattel recently made a Zendaya doll — though it doesn't seem to be going into mass production. Mattel also made news when it released an ad that included *gasp* a boy, helping bust some gender stereotypes.

Here's hoping the company keeps up the renewed commitment to inclusivity.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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