An Arizona couple's efforts to give their niece a Barbie playset that matched their own same-sex wedding may just be changing the landscape of the toy aisle everywhere.
Matt Jacobi and Nick Caprio, who are planning their own wedding, wanted to give their eight-year-old niece, Natalie, a Barbie wedding set for her birthday but were disappointed when they couldn't find one that reflected their own upcoming nuptials in which Natalie would be participating.
"We really wanted to give her something that she could enjoy, but also something that would be meaningful to her and somehow connected to the wedding that she will be a part of," Jacobi told CNN. "When we saw the toys in all the aisles, Nick and I looked at each other and had a moment. We just didn't feel connected to any of them."
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Hi @mattel! Happy Holidays. We had a difficult time finding a same sex wedding set to give to my niece for her 8th birthday. She and her little sister are flower girls in our upcoming May wedding. We thought it would be special to give her something with a little meaning behind it. What a bummer you don’t make one with two grooms. Anyway, we had to get creative and make a couple purchases. I hope our custom gift inspires you to make a #GayWedding set! 🌈 . Kindest Regards, Matt Jacobi (America’s Favorite #Guncle) . . #LGBT #Grooms #Instagay #LGBTwedding #GayCouple #Guncles #RelationshipGoals #FamilyGoals #MarriageEquality
To solve the issue, the couple DIY-ed their own set, replacing the Barbie with an extra Ken to create a custom set just for their niece. Jacobi then shared a photo of the set on Instagram, but it didn't just get the attention of friends and family. It got the attention of Barbie manufacturer Mattel as well. The toymaker reached out to the couple and now, they will be meeting to discuss the possibility of making same-sex doll sets a reality for all consumers.
"We have a confirmed date set in early January, and we are extremely excited, grateful and incredibly determined to make this happen," Jacobi said. "We are over the moon with all the positive responses we have received. We really just want to thank all the people out there for believing in our message that love is love."
Should Mattel begin offering same-sex sets for the iconic doll brand, it would not only be a shakeup in iconic Barbie and Ken "story", but it would also be in keeping with some of the other diversity-related shifts for the brand in recent years. Mattel has been pairing Barbie and Ken together in couple-specific sets since 1961 and while the relationship has stayed the same, the appearances of the dolls have changed. Where once the dolls came almost exclusively in blonde-haired, blue-eyed variations with a body type that many considered to be unrealistic, the line now boasts dolls with a variety of skin tones, eye colors, hair styles, and even different body types -- such as curvy and petite dolls introduced in 2016.
Mattel has also expanded the diversity of the Ken line as well as added a Barbie who wears a hijab, modeled after Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad for its "Shero" collection -- the same line of dolls that featured Wonder Woman director Patty Jenkins as well. With all of these expansions to the Barbie line, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch for Mattel to introduce not just wedding sets, but other collections and dolls to represent the LGBTQ community.
As for Jacobi and Caprio's niece, Natalie? She couldn't be happier with the special gift her uncles put together just for her.36comments
"They look exactly like you," she said when opening her special gift.
What do you think about Mattel making a same-sex Barbie wedding set? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.