Mattel Releases First-Ever Barbie with Down Syndrome

Mattel Releases First-Ever Barbie with Down Syndrome

On Tuesday, Mattel announced that Barbie was debuting its first-ever doll with Down Syndrome.

The doll was “created to allow even more children to see themselves in Barbie, as well as have Barbie reflect the world around them,” the company said. “The Barbie doll with Down syndrome is meant to inspire all children to tell more stories through play.”

Barbie worked with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in order to “ensure the doll accurately represents a person with Down syndrome,” per a press release.

The NDSS has reported that one in every 772 babies in the U.S. is born with Down syndrome.

“NDSS empowers individuals with Down syndrome and their families by providing resources, driving policy change [and] engaging with local communities,” Mattel added. “NDSS’s guidance and real-world experiences informed the design process from start to finish, including the doll’s sculpt, clothing, accessories and packaging. The close partnership ensured the Barbie team celebrated individuals with Down syndrome through a doll that would immediately connect with the community.”

“It was an honor working with Barbie on the Barbie doll with Down syndrome,” said Kandi Pickard, the president and CEO of NDSS. “This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them. This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation. It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating.”

In order to make the doll’s design symbolic of the Down syndrome community, Mattel came up with some inventive solutions.

“The doll’s puff-sleeved dress pattern features butterflies and yellow and blue colors, which are symbols and colors associated with Down syndrome awareness,” Mattel said. “The doll’s pink pendant necklace with three upward chevrons represents the three copies of the 21st chromosome, which is the genetic material that causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. The three chevrons, or arrows, are a symbol that unites the Down syndrome community and are meant to represent ‘the lucky few’ who have someone with Down syndrome in their life.”

As for Barbie’s shape, “This doll introduces a new face and body sculpt to be more illustrative of women with Down syndrome, including a shorter frame and a longer torso,” Mattel said. “The new face sculpt features a rounder shape, smaller ears, and a flat nasal bridge, while the eyes are slightly slanted in an almond shape. The doll’s palms even include a single line, a characteristic often associated with those with Down syndrome.”

“The Barbie Fashionista doll with Down syndrome also wears pink ankle foot orthotics (AFOs) to match her outfit and her sneakers tout a zipper detail,” Mattel added. “Some children with Down syndrome use orthotics to support their feet and ankles, and NDSS provided a box of orthotics to serve as real-life inspiration for the ones this Barbie Fashionista is wearing, matched to her outfit and the bright colors in her design.”

The potential global impact of the doll was mentioned in a statement by Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel.
“As the most diverse doll line on the market, Barbie plays an important role in a child’s early experiences, and we are dedicated to doing our part to counter social stigma through play,” said McKnight. “Our goal is to enable all children to see themselves in Barbie, while also encouraging children to play with dolls who do not look like themselves.”

“Doll play outside of a child’s own lived experience can teach understanding and build a greater sense of empathy, leading to a more accepting world,” McKnight added. “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.”

Consumers can purchase the 2023 Fashionistas line doll at all major retailers for $10.99.

Barbie with Down Syndrome. provided by Mattel

About Iesha

Hi All, my name is I’esha and I’ve been a writer for baller alert for 1 year and 2 months. I’m also a student and entrepreneur .

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