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Mattel is welcoming Ashley Graham, body-positive fashion icon, to the Barbie family.

The model and activist became the latest celeb to get the Barbie treatment.

Mattel is welcoming Ashley Graham, body-positive fashion icon, to the Barbie family.

Let's be real: The people at Barbie have been absolutely knocking it out of the ballpark in recent years.

Whether it's in airing ads that defy gender norms or by creating a wider and more realistic range of body shapes, a lot has been happening in the world of the iconic blonde.

One of the coolest additions, without a doubt, has been the Barbie Sheroes line, which pays tribute to real women doing really cool things in the world. They've featured the likes of history-making ballerina Misty Copeland, country artist Trisha Yearwood, actress Emmy Rossum, "Selma" director Ava DuVernay, and Disney star Zendaya, among others.


In comes the newest member of the Barbie Sheroes family: plus-size model Ashley Graham.

Graham made history as the first plus-size model to appear in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. She's a major proponent for body diversity in the modeling industry, and she delivered a powerful TED talk on the topic of body positivity.

The team at Barbie wanted to honor Graham for "pushing boundaries within fashion and for promoting a message of body positivity, self-acceptance and female empowerment," so they did what they do best: They made a doll.

Here's Graham accepting an award at the 2016 Glamour Women of the Year ceremony in Los Angeles. Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for Glamour.

At this year's Glamour Women of the Year ceremony, Graham was presented with her very own Barbie — and she freaked out about it in the best possible way.

Graham worked closely with Mattel to make sure the end result accurately represented her look and her personality. She had a special request for the renowned doll makers: no thigh gap. They were happy to oblige. From the sound of things, she's pretty happy with how it turned out.

"She got a round belly. She got round hips. She got round everything, yes!" Graham told Glamour when she first saw the doll.

Unfortunately, it doesn't look like you'll be able to find Graham's Barbie on store shelves as of now — but that could soon change.

The Sheroes collection is largely a series of one-off models given directly to the women who inspired them, but in certain cases (like Ava DuVernay's, which saw high demand from consumers), they've been put into mass production.

At the moment, there doesn't seem to be plans to put the Ashley Graham doll into mass production, but with enough demand from those interested in buying one, it could be possible. Even so, the fact that Graham's doll exists at all is a sign of how the world is beginning to dismantle traditional standards of beauty — and it goes to show that Mattel can make a doll with a different body type if it wants to.

Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for Glamour.

For as long as Barbie has existed, she's been upheld as a standard of beauty. By creating an Ashley Graham doll, Mattel is making some major progress.

“We need to work together to redefine the global image of beauty and continue to push for a more inclusive world,” Graham said in a press release. “I’m thrilled Barbie has not only evolved their product, but also has continued to honor women who are pushing boundaries. It’s an honor to be immortalized in plastic."

Intentional or not, having one single type of Barbie body meant Mattel was reinforcing some harmful beauty standards that quite simply couldn't be met by human women. In undoing some of that work, Barbie is helping to make the world a better and more accepting place.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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When "bobcat" trended on Twitter this week, no one anticipated the unreal series of events they were about to witness. The bizarre bobcat encounter was captured on a security cam video and...well...you just have to see it. (Read the following description if you want to be prepared, or skip down to the video if you want to be surprised. I promise, it's a wild ride either way.)

In a North Carolina neighborhood that looks like a present-day Pleasantville, a man carries a cup of coffee and a plate of brownies out to his car. "Good mornin!" he calls cheerfully to a neighbor jogging by. As he sets his coffee cup on the hood of the car, he says, "I need to wash my car." Well, shucks. His wife enters the camera frame on the other side of the car.

So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

A horrifying "rrrrawwwww!" Blood-curdling screaming. Running. Panic. The man abandons the brownies, races to his wife's side of the car, then emerges with an animal in his hands. He holds the creature up like Rafiki holding up Simba, then yells in its face, "Oh my god! It's a bobcat! Oh my god!"

Then he hucks the bobcat across the yard with all his might.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less