WASHINGTON (AFP) – American toy manufacturer Mattel has unveiled new specialty Barbie dolls modelled after the famous English primatologist Jane Goodall and her beloved research specimen, a chimpanzee named David Greybeard.
The Goodall doll, which Mattel said will be partly made with recycled plastic, sports the researcher’s classic beige collared shirt and shorts, as well as a pair of binoculars and a blue notebook.
David Greybeard was the chimpanzee on whom Goodall wrote her initial research papers, which documented for the first time the species’ usage of tools.
“I’d been suggesting it for a long time that girls don’t want just to be film stars and things like that,” said Goodall in a promotional video.
“Many of them, like me, want to be in the out in nature studying animals.”
The new Barbie is the latest in a series of dolls Mattel has dedicated to feminist or other inspirational icons. Before Goodall, the toy-maker had produced dolls modelled off tennis star Naomi Osaka, the co-creator of AstraZeneca’s COVID vaccine, Sarah Gilbert, and an anonymous female “robotics engineer”.
“My heroes, my models were Tarzan, Dr Dolittle,” said Goodall.
“There weren’t women doing the kind of things I wanted to do… so in all my dreams, I was a man.”
To all the little girls who like her would like to be changemakers, the primatologist recommends to “go for a walk in nature, learn to love it and then protect it.”