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Ken's Korner: Barbie, meet Fulla, the new Arab doll

Ken’s Korner: Barbie, meet Fulla, the new Arab doll – The Journal of Antiques and Collectibles – March 2006
Barbie has some competition in the Middle Eastern doll market. Her name is Fulla, and she’s named after a sweet-smelling flower. But that’s not what distinguishes her from Barbie or any other Western-looking doll. Fulla is Muslim, and wears the Islamic hijab (or head scarf) with a long flowing gown (abaya). She has dark eyes and long brown hair. Even her breasts are different (much smaller than Barbie’s).
Fulla was introduced to coincide with the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday in January. In a broad sense, Fulla represents a growing trend toward the commercialization of Islam. Her creators — New Boy Design Studio, in Damascus, Syria — say she represents Arab and Islamic values, such as modesty, respect and piety. Fulla dolls first hit toy store shelves in November, at a price of $16 each (the price includes a prayer rug). More than 1.3 million had been sold by early December. Barbie sales figures were not available. Fulla dolls are also on store shelves in the U.S.
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