Two Arizona men say they’re planning to meet with Mattel in hopes of convincing the toy manufacturer behind Barbie to include same-sex couples in their offerings.
Matt Jacobi and Nick Caprio of Scottsdale, Arizona, told “Good Morning America” they wanted to surprise their niece, Natalie, on her 8th birthday with a gift that would get her excited about being a flower girl at their 2019 wedding. So they decided to buy her a Barbie Wedding Set ― normally featuring Barbie as a bride and Ken as a groom, along with two flower girls and a cake ― and swap out Barbie for a second Ken so the toy would resemble their forthcoming nuptials.
“We have a wonderful, loving and caring Italian family,” Jacobi said. “Everyone is so excited for our big day, especially my two nieces. They have been talking about our wedding all year long and have been raised to understand and only know that love is love!”
The uncles presented Natalie with the doll set Dec. 8. Later that day, Jacobi snapped a photo of the gift and posted it to his Instagram as an open letter to Mattel.
The image caught the eye of someone at Mattel, and Jacobi says the company has reached out to him and Caprio about setting up a meeting in Los Angeles, to be held later this month or in early January.
When contacted by HuffPost, a Mattel spokesperson confirmed that the company had been in touch with the couple.
Both men say they’re overjoyed with the response.
“My nieces only knows that only Uncle Matt loves Uncle Nick and Uncle Nick loves Uncle Matt,” Jacobi told Out magazine. “Kids are taught to hate, they’re taught to have negative feeling about those who don’t fit the social norm. It’s time that we bring positive examples into the commercial market. ... Toys are tools for teaching.”
And Barbie ― who will turn 60 in March 2019 ― has even taken a stance on marriage equality in the past. In 2017, two photos posted to the doll’s official Instagram page showed her wearing a “Love Wins” T-shirt and posing alongside a doll created in Los Angeles-based fashion designer Aimee Song’s likeness.
If a same-sex Barbie Wedding Set is created in the future, Caprio is hopeful that parents will view it as another example of the brand shifting to represent modern life as opposed to a political message.
“It’s going to come up in your family no matter what,” he said. “As more same-sex couples are having kids, your kids are going to have kids in the class that have gay parents and things like that, too, so it’s not this huge shock anymore.”