LAGOS, Nigeria – Barbie has had another makeover – this time, as a hijab-wearing Muslim.
It was only last month that Mattel gave Barbie a dramatic transformation with a variety of skin tones and different body types, including adding curves to her impossibly slender frame.
Now, a Nigerian medical student has taken Instagram by storm, since she began posting images of a hijab-wearing Barbie doll a few weeks ago.
I'm Haneefah Adam (@muslimahanie) a Nigerian and I'm behind #Hijarbie! I also currently own and run a modest lifestyle brand, Hanie (@haniecollection). If you'd like to ask me anything. I'd do my best to answer them now. Meanwhile, some FAQs. Why isn't the page diversified in terms of race: The simple truth is, I couldn't find the Different types in Nigeria (no Amazon or eBay or anything, Lol), I'd have loved to dress up a black doll myself too. I've ordered for some internationally and they'll soon be here 😅 I basically started with what I had. When will purchase be possible: As soon as possible, we are in the process of building a website and working towards production and making hijarbie available for purchase soon. By the way, where are my followers from? xx
We are used to seeing Barbie scantily-clad in denim hotpants and skimpy tops but, with her colorful headscarves, flowing abayas and full-length couture dresses, Hijarbie is far more covered up.
Haneefa Adam said she was inspired to create the Hijarbie account after coming across the Barbie Style Instagram page.
She told CNN: “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. I thought it was really important for a doll to be dressed like how I would be.”
The 24-year-old, who recently completed a masters in Pharmacology in the UK, describes Hijarbie as a “modest doll” – one that offers Muslim girls a relatable role model.
“It has roots in my religion and cultural identity. The way Barbie dresses is very different, and there’s nothing wrong with it. I just wanted to give another option for Muslim girls like me,” she said. “I want to use the Instagram page to create an identity for her similar to Barbie.”
The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive with requests from all over the world to buy the dolls.
Hijarbie now has over 25,000 followers on the social network.
But, despite the account’s popularity, Adam said she has received some negative comments from people who think that Muslim women who wear the veil are “oppressed,” a misconception she wants to fix.
“People think that, when Muslim women cover up, they are forced to. (The) majority of us are not. 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,” she said. “I think this is a great platform to try and get the Muslim identity to the world and correct some misconceptions.”