Mattel releases first ever Barbie with Down syndrome

·3 min read

Story at a glance

  • Mattel Inc. launched its first-ever Barbie doll with Down syndrome on Tuesday.

  • The doll is part of the company’s 2023 Fashionistas lineup.

  • All of the Fashionistas dolls can be purchased for $10.99 at major retailers.

Mattel Inc launched its first-ever Barbie doll with Down syndrome Tuesday to allow even more children to see themselves in the iconic toy.

The doll with Down syndrome is part of a new and more diverse 2023 Barbie Fashionistas Line.

Down syndrome is a genetic disorder that causes a person to be born with an extra pair of their 21st chromosome, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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Some common physical features of the condition include a flattened face, almond-shaped eyes that slant upward, a shortened neck, and tiny white spots on the iris.

About 6,000 babies a year born in the United States have Down Syndrome, according to the agency.

Barbie worked with the National Down Syndrome Society to design a doll accurately representing a person with Down Syndrome, the company said in a statement.

The new doll has a face and body shape created to be “more illustrative of a woman with Down syndrome,” and features almond-shaped eyes that slant slightly upward, a shorter frame, and a longer torso.

The doll also includes a common but more unknown characteristic of Down syndrome, a single line down the palm of the hands.

“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,” Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel said.

“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.”

NDSS President and CEO Kandi Pickard said the new doll serves as a reminder of the power of representation.

“It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating,” she said.

The new doll includes a number of fashion accessories that honor those with Down syndrome as well.

The doll dons a puff-sleeved dress decorated with a blue and yellow butterfly pattern, symbols, and colors linked to Down syndrome awareness and wears a pink pendant necklace with three arrows representing the three copies of the 21st chromosome.

The doll with Down syndrome also wears pink sneakers and ankle foot orthotics since some children with the condition use orthotics to support their feet and ankles.

Other dolls in the 2023 Fashionistas lineup feature a variety of body types, a doll wearing braces and a Ken doll with a prosthetic leg.

All 2023 Fashionistas dolls, including the Barbie doll with Down syndrome, can be purchased for $10.99 at major retailers.

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