Barbie Launches First-Ever Barbie Doll With Down Syndrome + More Diverse And Inclusive Dolls
EL SEGUNDO, C.A. — Barbie is continuing its journey to represent global belonging and inclusivity in the fashion doll aisle by reflecting a multi-dimensional view of beauty and fashion in its products by launching a first-ever Barbie doll with Down syndrome as part of this year’s global Barbie Fashionistas lineup.
Officials from Barbie say they worked every step of the way with a team at National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), which included individuals with Down syndrome, siblings, parents, and others connected to the Down syndrome community who all provided input into developing the doll. Barbie reps say it was incredibly important that the doll not only accurately represented a person with Down syndrome but celebrated the Down syndrome community.
Counseled by NDSS, Barbie was purposeful with every design choice for the doll, including:
· Sculpt: This doll introduces a new face and body sculpt to be more illustrative of women with Down syndrome, including a shorter frame and a longer torso. The new face sculpt features a rounder shape, smaller ears, and a flat nasal bridge, while the eyes are slightly slanted in an almond shape. The doll’s palms even include a single line, a characteristic often associated with those with Down syndrome.
· Fashion & Accessories: The doll’s puff sleeved dress pattern features butterflies and yellow and blue colors, which are symbols and colors associated with Down syndrome awareness. The doll’s pink pendant necklace with three upward chevrons represents the three copies of the 21st chromosome, which is the genetic material that causes the characteristics associated with Down syndrome. The three chevrons, or arrows, are a symbol that unites the Down syndrome community and are meant to represent “the lucky few” who have someone with Down syndrome in their life.
· Orthotics: The Barbie Fashionista doll with Down syndrome also wears pink ankle foot orthotics (AFOs) to match her outfit and her sneakers tout a zipper detail. Some children with Down syndrome use orthotics to support their feet and ankles, and NDSS provided a box of orthotics to serve as real-life inspiration for the ones this Barbie Fashionista is wearing, matched to her outfit and the bright colors in her design.
In addition to the Fashionista doll with Down syndrome, the year’s Fashionistas lineup includes new dolls in a variety of body types, skin tones, eye colors, hair colors and textures, body types, and disabilities including a new Fashionista doll wearing braces and a Ken Fashionista doll with a prosthetic leg.
“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,” 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.”
Barbie is the most inclusive doll line on the market – with over 175 looks offering a variety of eye colors, hair colors and textures, body types, disabilities and fashions to tell more stories. Barbie has introduced dolls with vitiligo, dolls that use a wheelchair or a prosthetic limb, a doll with hearing aids and a doll without hair.