NEW YORK (PIX11) – Barbie has introduced its first doll with Down syndrome, created as part of an effort to increase representation in the toy aisle, Mattel said Tuesday.
“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,” said Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel. “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. 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.”
Barbie worked closely with the National Down Syndrome Society to ensure the doll accurately represents a person with Down syndrome, Mattel said. The doll features a new face and body sculpt that are meant to be illustrative of women with Down syndrome.
The doll wears a puff-sleeved dress pattern that features butterflies and yellow and blue colors, which are symbols and colors associated with Down syndrome awareness. The doll also wears pink ankle foot orthotics, which some children with Down syndrome use to support their feet and ankles.
“This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them,” said Kandi Pickard, the president and CEO of the National Down Syndrome Society. “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.”