Barbie introduces new doll with Down syndrome

Toymaker said they have a goal to increase representation in the toy aisle

Mattel introduces first Barbie doll representing a person with Down syndrome. (Mattel)

Mattel has unveiled a new Barbie doll with Down syndrome.

The toymaker said they created the doll to allow more children to see themselves in Barbie, as well as to have the dolls better reflect the world around them.

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The company worked with the National Down Syndrome Society to have the doll incorporate some of the physical traits of women with Down syndrome.

“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,” the company said in a press release.

Her dress features butterflies and the colors yellow and blue — which are associated with Down syndrome awareness. Her pink pendant necklace has three upward chevrons to represent the three copies of the 21st chromosome.

This Barbie is wearing foot orthotics which many children with Down syndrome use to support their feet and ankles.

“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 in a press release. “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.”

According to a press release, Barbie is the most inclusive doll line on the market with more than 175 varieties representing women of different looks, body types, ethnicities and abilities.


About the Author:

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.