Mattel unveiled a new Barbie representing someone with Down syndrome. Mattel said the doll “is meant to inspire all children to tell more stories through play.”
Mattel said to ensure the Barbie accurately depicts someone with Down syndrome, it “worked closely” with leaders from the National Down Syndrome Society. Mattel said the organization’s guidance “informed the design process from start to finish, including the doll’s sculpt, clothing, accessories and packaging.”
“It was an honor working with Barbie on the Barbie doll with Down syndrome,” Kandi Pickard, National Down Syndrome Society president and CEO, said in a statement. “This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them. 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.”
Mattel said the doll’s sculpt has a longer torso and shorter frame as part of its depiction. It includes a rounder shape, smaller ears, and a flat nasal bridge, Mattel said. The doll’s dress is yellow and blue with butterflies on it, representing the colors and symbols of Down syndrome awareness.
The Barbie also has pink ankle foot orthotics, depicting children who often need the orthotics to support their feet and ankles.
Mattel said the doll will be available at select retailers this summer for $10.99.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 6,000 babies a year are born with Down syndrome. This represents 1 out of every 700 births, the CDC says.
The CDC says Down syndrome is a lifelong condition, but early treatment can improve mental and physical health outcomes.
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