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Barbie Busted For Noncompliance Doll Has New Friend, Can’t Invite Her In

Tue., June 10, 1997

Becky, the strawberry-blond babe in the hot-pink wheelchair, has a problem. Big time.

Amid much ballyhoo and a drum roll of press releases last month, perky “Share a Smile Becky,” as toymaker Mattel has dubbed her, made her debut as the newest member of the Barbie doll family.

Advocates for people with disabilities heralded Becky’s arrival, because youngsters who use wheelchairs now would have a doll just like them. The doll is intended to change attitudes about people with disabilities, Mattel said proudly.

But, alas, Barbie and friends have not read the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires accessible entrances for wheelchairs. Becky’s wheelchair, it turns out, doesn’t fit through the doors of the Barbie dollhouse.

“How ironic and true … housing for people with disabilities that is not accessible! Mattel said they will redesign the houses in the future to accommodate … now if it were that easy for the rest of us!” wrote two students, Kjersti Johnson, Tacoma, and Priscilla Wong, Bellevue, to the Easter Seal Society of Washington.

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