Mattel introduce a Barbie doll with Down’s Syndrome
A new Barbie doll with Downs Syndrome has gone on sale in an attempt to reach out to children living with the condition so they can feel represented in the toy industry.
A statement from Mattel said the new doll will “enable all children to see themselves in Barbie”.
The toy giant worked alongside the US National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in the doll’s manufacturing process.
Carol Boys, chief executive of the UK Down’s Syndrome Association, was delighted with the news. She said “Children in our community will be able to play with a doll that represents them.”
Model Ellie Goldstein, who lives with Down’s Syndrome, appears in a campaign with the new Barbie.
She told The Guardian: “Diversity is important to me as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away.”
NDSS and medical professionals offered expert advice to Mattel so the doll could have a new distinctive face with a body representing a young woman with Down’s Syndrome, including a shorter frame and larger torso.
The new Barbie wears a pink pendant necklace showing three upward chevrons which represent the three copies of the 21st chromosome, which causes the condition.
Barbie’s chevrons highlight “the Lucky Few” who know a person with Down’s Syndrome in their life.
The toy is part of the Barbie Fashionistas line, launched in 2022, which includes a Barbie in a wheelchair and male dolls that are thinner with less muscles.
Mattel said the collection is their “most diverse and inclusive doll line, offering a variety of skin tones, eye colours, hair colours and textures, body types, disabilities and fashions, to inspire even more stories”.
[ The new Barbie is available from Smyths toy store ]