Hannah Withers, who was 9 at the time, at the unveiling of Mattel’s "Share a Smile Becky” doll in 1997 (Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

Hannah Withers, who was 9 at the time, at the unveiling of Mattel’s "Share a Smile Becky” doll in 1997
(Susan Walsh / Associated Press)

The story of wheelchair barbie 

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In 1997, amid a swell in public attention towards disability rights, Mattel decided to release a Barbie doll that used a wheelchair. They called the doll “Share A Smile Becky,” and it looked like Becky would be a win both for Mattel and for disability activists, who hoped the doll could teach the public a thing or two about inclusiveness. But a major design flaw caused Becky to have quite the opposite effect.