LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Mattel’s newest Barbie immortalizes an Oscar look that generated controversy this year and started a discussion on expanding society’s definition of beauty.
The new doll is modeled after Disney star Zendaya and the dreadlocks she wore to the awards show.
It’s a move that many are praising for bringing diversity to children’s toys.
“When I was little I couldn’t find a Barbie that looked like me, my…how times have changed,” Zendaya, 19, wrote on Instagram, putting a shot of the doll alongside a side portrait taken of her on the Oscar red carpet.
Her coif became the subject of attention on E!’s “Fashion Police,” when co-host Giuliana Rancic said: “I think she has such a tiny frame that this hair, to me, overwhelms her. I feel like she smells like patchouli oil. Or weed.”
The off-color joke drew widespread backlash from people who felt Rancic had been racially insensitive.
Zendaya blasted Rancic’s comments on Twitter as “not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive.”
“Fashion Police” co-host Kelly Osbourne got dragged into the online criticism:
Rancic went on-air to issue a public apology and said it had been a learning experience for her. And Zendaya accepted the olive branch.
Zendaya said she wore her hair in dreads to send a message: “My wearing my hair in locs on an Oscar red carpet was to showcase them in a positive light, to remind people of color that our hair is good enough.”
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When I was little I couldn't find a Barbie that looked like me, my…how times have changed. Thank you @barbie for this honor and for allowing me to be apart of your diversification and expansion of the definition of beauty. Can't wait to keep doing amazing things with you😘😘😘 #besuper @luxurylaw @theshelbyswain
The singer, actress, dancer and model was presented with her look-alike doll Saturday, two weeks before it arrives in stores.