Celebrating International Women's Day with inspiring dolls

Published 09, Mar, 2018
Author // Félix Garmendía

Barbie released dolls celebrating diverse leaders for International Women’s Day and New York guy Félix Garmendía says the idea is "absolutely brilliant."

Celebrating International Women's Day with inspiring dolls

I heard yesterday about the new Barbie collection. I am not particularly a toy enthusiast but a friend posted this new Barbie collection on my Facebook page. The reason why my friend posted it on my page is because this new collection, consists of 17 inspiring women. From all the inspiring women chosen, Frida Kahlo, my favorite artist, is one of them.

Frida Kahlo and her doll

The posting produced a few comments from some of my friends. Very interesting observations that raised questions about Frida’s possible approval or disapproval of this American doll representing herself. Knowing Frida, she would have contested several things about this doll. Why are her body proportions all wrong? As an artist, she would have been able to realize that Barbie’s waist is way too small and her breasts, are very large for her body frame. Why are all these 17 dolls the same, body wise? Knowing my beloved Frida she probably would have pointed out the fact that diversity is beautiful as oppose to these dolls with the same bodies unreally proportioned with different heads.

Now coming back to 2018, I believe the idea of Barbie throwing this new collection of inspiring women is absolutely brilliant. In a moment in history where women are speaking out and loud about their rights, these dolls can become a very educational tool for young children all over the world.

Amelia Earhart and her Barbie counterpart

Children need to be exposed to women like, Amelia Earhart, Frida Kahlo, Katherine Johnson and Chloe Kim among others. Barbie released dolls celebrating diverse leaders for International Women’s Day. This is the year of the woman and on International Women’s Day March 8, a new, diverse series of Barbie dolls targeted at children everywhere rolled out. I find this initiative absolutely brilliant. Children must have available role models from all different ethnic and professional backgrounds.

Katherine Johnson and her doll

Instead of just playing with a pretty doll, they will be looking at a new face, the new face of a role model to look up to. A dream maker for many, a reassurance of self-esteem for many others. Kudos to Mattel for helping teachers and parents by expanding these children’s curiosity and exposing them to the timeless greatness of modern-day women of distinction, made into dolls.

“These will include Wonder Woman filmmaker Patty Jenkins, wildlife conservationist Bindi Irwin, championship boxer Nicola Adams, windsurfer Çağla Kubat, chef Hélène Darroze, volleyball champion Hui Ruoqi, and designer and entrepreneur Leyla Piedayesh. Also included will be professional golfer Lorena Ochoa, journalist Martyna Wojciechowska, soccer player Sara Gama, actress and philanthropist Xiaotong Guan, ballerina Yuan Tan, and fashion designer and entrepreneur Vicky Martin.”

This collection gives children all over the world 17 reasons to believe that they can reach for the stars when it comes to the possibilities of what they dream to become in the future. Grow strong America!


About the Author

Félix Garmendía

Félix Garmendía

"I was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico in the 60s. Living in Puerto Rico, and growing up there was a bumpy process. I was very aware of my homosexual identity at a very early age, so fighting the stigma was a very intense journey in my native island.

I love art. The Ponce Art Museum was my shelter since I was in high school. As my first job ever, I guided bilingual tours for locals and tourists from all over the world.

In high school, I was introduced to music and theater, after that, I chose to pursue a B.A. in theater at the U.P.R. ( University of Puerto Rico ). Rio Piedras campus.

In college, I discovered many things about myself. My sexual identity became established, my religious beliefs changed dramatically and my awareness of my role in society became the first and biggest challenge of my life. I became a proud gay man, an atheist and an activist. The political climate in Puerto Rico was very far away from recognizing any kind of gay rights so I knew that I needed a community that I could call my own, and be myself. After several years in Puerto Rico, in my twenties, I moved to N.Y.C. to pursue a Master’s Degree in Art Education and Art Criticism at New York University. I decided to stay in Manhattan. Here I found myself. I discovered my passions, causes to fight for, and the strong community that I always dreamed of. I became a passionate man with strong convictions.

After graduation I became a N.Y.C. school teacher. I taught art in the South Bronx, Spanish Harlem and Upper Manhattan for 15 years.

Sometime in my twenties, I was exposed to HIV. I tested HIV-positive and after a serious depression, came out strong and victorious. I became an AIDS activist. My passions in life became the gears that fed energy into my existence.

Very early in my N.Y.C. years, I became a staunch liberal. All my causes were related. I was trying to survive in a world where not everybody cared if I did or not. Politics made clear who cared for me as a human being.

That’s why I’m very vocal about my postings. Not because I want to convince anybody, but I do it for those who, like me, once needed some direction in life. I want to share the "real" me with those friends with similar beliefs or at least respect for my beliefs.

Today, I still live in Manhattan. I’m legally married to my husband Denis Beale and I’m disabled. My life is not easy, I have several health related conditions that are a real challenge these days. This bring me to another one of my causes. From personal experience, I believe in the legalization of cannabis (marijuana). 

I consider myself a loving, compassionate and spiritual person. I have no patience for bigotry, especially the kind of sanctimonious bigotry that wraps itself in prayer and fake compassion.

This is a synopsis of who I am. It would be really helpful to start introducing myself with my favorite warning. Warning: I’m human, far from perfect, passionate about life, the pursue of difficult answers, and the conviction that we are all equal."

Felix has been featured in The Huffington Post’s Queer Voices; see the piece here

You can follow Felix on Facebook here or here, on twitter @PozHeart and also on Instagram, here.