Mattel, the US toy manufacturer that owns the Barbie brand, collaborated with the US Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to ensure that the physical features of women with Down Syndrome were accurately reflected in the doll. The new Barbie features a round face, almond-shaped eyes, small ears, and a flat nose, all of which are unique physical characteristics of people with Down Syndrome. Additionally, the doll wears a pink pendant necklace that symbolizes the genetic disorder’s characteristic of the 21st chromosome having three copies instead of two.
The Barbie also comes with a pink ankle brace, which some children with Down Syndrome wear to support their feet and ankles.
This latest release follows Mattel’s efforts to create more diverse representation in Barbie dolls, including dolls of various races, hair types, and heights, as well as dolls with hearing aids or in wheelchairs. The original Barbie, released in 1959, featured a slim woman with long legs and blonde hair, which critics noted only represented 1 in 100,000 women.
Mattel’s Global Head of Barbie, Lisa McKnight, believes that this new addition to the Barbie line will help create a bigger sense of community, leading to a more inclusive world. Mattel’s goal is for all children to have Barbie dolls that represent different body types and abilities so that they can see themselves in their toys.
In conclusion, this new inclusive Barbie is a big step forward in promoting empathy, inclusivity, and a greater sense of community among children. Mattel’s efforts to create more diverse representation in their Barbie line is commendable, and we hope to see more inclusive dolls in the future.