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‘Activist’ Barbie’s adorable accessory steals the show

Barbie ditched the pink for khaki with a new doll honouring Dr Jane Goodall.
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Barbie is famous for her bright pink outfits but now she’s ditched the pink and is going green. Mattel have released a new doll modelled after British primatologist Dr Jane Goodall, and she’s made of 90% recycled plastic.

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Jane is the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees and has dedicated her life to conservation efforts. 

The 88-year-old told People she is “absolutely delighted” by Barbie Jane, the doll designed in her honour.

“So many people know about Jane because I’m in their school textbooks, and they learn about me at school,” she said.

“I think they’ll be thrilled to be given a Barbie Jane.”

Jane Goodall and her Barbie lookalike
Barbie Jane is inspired by Jane’s trip to Gombe National Park in 1965. (Credit: Jane Goodall Institute & Mattel)

The new iteration of Barbie will be released on Tuesday ahead of World Chimpanzee Day, she comes dressed in khakis and carries binoculars and a notebook. 

She’s also accompanied by a miniature David Greybeard, the first chimpanzee to trust Jane while she was conducting research at the Gombe National Park in Tanzania.

“When I got to Gombe, it was beautiful, my dream had come true,” Jane told Reuters.

“But for four months the chimps ran away from me… so although the forest was wonderful, I couldn’t enjoy it until this David Greybeard lost his fear and helped the others to lose their fear too.”

Barbie Jane Goodall
Barbie Jane comes with binoculars, a notebook and David Greybeard. (Credit: Mattel)

But the adorable mini chimp figure stole the show on social media, where some fans confessed they were more excited about him than the Barbie doll.

If the Jane Goodall Barbie doll had existed when I was a kid, I would certainly have ditched the human doll in favor of the little plastic chimp with it’s wizards’ staff,” one joked.

In a way, the fan reaction to miniature David Greybeard mirror’s Jane’s own love of the creatures, inspiring a new affection for the animals she protected so carefully.

Barbie Jane is part of Mattel’s ‘Barbie Inspiring Women’ series which pays tribute to important women throughout history. Other dolls in the series include Helen Keller, Rosa Parks and Maya Angelou. 

chimp
The adorable monkey in question. (Credit: Twitter/Mattel)

Jane hopes her doll will show children the variety of paths they can choose in life.

“I wanted a doll to be me even before this idea came up,” she confessed.

“I’ve seen… little girls playing with Barbie dolls and certainly at the beginning, they were all very girly girly and I thought little girls need… some choice.

“Mattel has changed its range of dolls and there’s all kinds of astronauts and doctors and things like that.”

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Barbie Jane is just one part of Jane’s ongoing partnership with Mattel.

The doll manufacturer will support the Jane Goodall Institute and her youth service movement Roots & Shoots to educate young people about climate change and their environmental impacts.

Header image from the Jane Goodall Institute.

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