Barbie fans were already at fever pitch with the Barbie movie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, coming to theatres later this year. Now, they’re even more excited – if that were possible – with the news that parent company Mattel is releasing a Barbie with Down syndrome.
The Barbie with Down syndrome will inspire all children, of all abilities, to tell more stories through play.
“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 Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel. “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. 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.”
Mattel worked closely with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) and medical professionals to ensure that the new Barbie is accurate and appropriate for the play experience.
The new Barbie with Down syndrome will have a re-shaped face and body to reflect the attributes common for people who live with Down syndrome. Her outfit will feature the colours and symbols associated with Down syndrome awareness, and she will wear pink ankle foot orthotics (AFOs).
This is a fantastic addition to the diverse contemporary Barbie line, which already features dolls with vitiligo, dolls that use a wheelchair or a prosthetic limb, a doll with hearing aids and a doll without hair.