Inspired by the Women’s March that took place on January 21, the wife of the mayor of a Pittsburgh suburb joined with a female Muslim friend to create “Hello Hijab,” a small colorful piece of cloth that can be folded into hijabs for Barbie-sized dolls.
On the day of the Women’s March, Gisele Barreto Fetterman, the wife of Braddock mayor John Fetterman, decided to imitate the march with her five-year-old daughter, Grace, parading dolls in their home. They made sure diversity was represented, with a black doll, a doll in a wheelchair, and a doll with glasses, among others.
But then Fetterman realized there were no Muslim dolls.
Fetterman said, “That seemed wrong. The refugee population coming in is mostly Muslim, and they are not welcomed by everyone, which is painful to see. Of course, there are children among the refugees. But there are no dolls for them.”
Fetterman joined with Safaa Bokhari, 30, of Oakland, a Saudi Arabian woman in the United States whose five-year-old daughter plays with Grace. Fetterman and Bokhari looked online for Muslim dolls. When they could not find any, they created “Hello Hijab.” Fetterman stated, “My dream is that every school, with all the dolls they have, will have at least one. If they play with it as children, when they become adults and see someone with a hijab they’ll be more accepting.”
According to Triblive.com “The hijabs are locally made, by hand, the first batch by Rankin resident Cindy McCune. Future production will be completed by Muslim seamstresses in Pittsburgh who will be paid $15 an hour. The hijab will cost around $6 and be available April 1.”
All proceeds from Hello Hijab will go to the Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, ACLU and Community Blueprint Pittsburgh.
Triblive.com added, “Mattel, the toy company that makes Barbie, did not respond to an email asking whether the company has ever produced or has plans to produce a Muslim doll.”
Fetterman and Bokhari said they were prepared for criticism; Bokhari said, “Haters gonna hate,” while Fetterman added, “I think there will always be people who find the negative, but we choose to find the positive in all things and that includes all people from all parts of the world. My five-year-old will say, ‘Why can’t they all move here? It’s more people for me to play with!’ I feel the exact same way.”