Barbie and Mattel, in keeping with their commitment to making the doll line as inclusive as possible, have worked with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to create a doll that most closely represents a person with Down syndrome.
NDSS advised Mattel and Barbie throughout the entire creation process; from the design of the doll, the clothing and accessories, to the packaging itself. The new Barbie features a newly sculpted face and body, with a wealth of thoughtful details such as a single line on the palms of the hands, a feature normally associated with Down syndrome.
The yellow and blue butterfly dress design includes the symbols and colors associated with Down syndrome awareness, and the pendant worn by Barbie includes three upward facing chevrons representing the three copies of chromosome 21. The doll wears pink ankle foot orthotics (AFO) that many children with Down syndrome use to support their feet and ankles.
“As the most diverse line of dolls on the market, Barbie plays an important role in children’s early experiences, and we are determined to do our part to counteract social stigma through play,” explained Barbie and Dolls Global Director Lisa McKnight in a press release. “Our goal is to allow all children to see themselves reflected in Barbie, while encouraging children to play with dolls that don’t look like them. Playing with dolls outside of a child’s own lived experience can teach understanding and create a greater sense of empathy, leading to a more tolerant world. We are proud to introduce a Barbie doll with Down syndrome to better reflect the world around us and further our commitment to celebrating inclusion through play,” she added.
“It has been an honor to work with Barbie on the Down syndrome Barbie doll,” said Kandi Pickard, President and CEO of NDSS. “This means so much to our community, who for the first time can play with a Barbie doll that looks just like them. This Barbie reminds us to never underestimate the power of representation. It’s a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment we celebrate.”
The new Barbie joins the “Fashionistas” line, which also includes other dolls with different body types and some with braces.
This doll is already available in major stores at a price of $10.99 USD.
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