If you have ever left a toy store frustrated because you were not able to find a modestly dressed doll I have good news for you. An Indonesian mother who couldn’t find a Barbie-like doll dressed in conservative fashions finally took matters into her own hands.
Sukmawati Suryaman spent months designing the Salma Muslim doll for parents out there looking to inspire the virtue of modesty among young girls. The 28-year-old mother-of-one’s new creation exploded on the toy scene and now the Salma doll is the latest must-have toy for girls in Indonesia.
The name Salma is derived from the Arabic word “salamah”, meaning peace. And parents may get peace of mind when they see what the doll is wearing. Don’t expect to see Salma decked out in boy shorts and bikinis; rather the Barbie-like doll dons interchangeable headscarfs and ankle-length dresses (outfits typically worn by Muslim women).
Suryaman says she was inspired to create the Salma doll after she saw her niece playing with a traditional Barbie figure that she felt “didn’t embody Muslim values.” The Indonesian mother says she was afraid if she allowed her own daughter to play with traditional Barbie’s that her little girl would want to imitate the doll’s immodest wardrobe.
Now Suryaman doesn’t have to worry about that problem. In addition to the doll itself, Salma owners can pick from 20 different tiny outfits, ranging from a formal black Abaya to a pink-glittery robe with matching headscarf. Though, according to news reports, the Salma doll and her extensive wardrobe is hard to come by these days as Eid (the time when Muslims celebrate the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan) approaches. Indonesian moms say they are pleased that one of their own has found success in creating a respectable role model for their daughters.
The Salma doll is available in stores throughout Indonesia and Suryaman hopes to begin exporting the Salma dolls to neighboring Muslim countries by the end of the year. If you live in the United States and want a Salma doll, you may have to wait a while. Suryaman says she hopes to one day establish a website to sell her new dolls, but for now that goal is at least a few months off.