Barbie once made a handicapped doll. You’ll never guess why it ended up being controversial!
The American with Disabilities Act was enacted in 1990 and managed to bestow civil liberties to the disabled citizens of the United States and prohibited discrimination based on disability.
This was a huge step forward to helping those reliant on wheelchairs and others that required mobility assistance by requiring things like ramps and elevators in commercial buildings.
Even toys got in on the equality—which backfired like most things with good intentions.
In May of 1997 Mattel, the corporation behind Barbie, released the Share a Smile Becky doll that came with a pink wheelchair.
It was very forward thinking and had the best intentions of normalizing a disability while empowering young disabled women everywhere that they too could be Barbie.
Of course, that bit them in the butt the moment a 17-year-old with cerebral palsy from Washington remarked that the doll could not fit into Barbie's pricy ($100) Dream House elevator. It wasn't ADA compliant!
Mattel responded with an announcement that they would redesign the house in the future to accommodate the doll.
Of course, the house wasn't the only problem. Nearly all of Barbie's accessories, accommodations and vehicles could not fit the doll. Back to the drawing board!