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Mattel Launches First Barbie Doll With Down Syndrome – Here’s a Closer Look!

As part of the Barbie Fashionistas collection, Mattel has launched its first-ever Barbie doll representing a person with Down syndrome. This inclusive range of dolls celebrates diversity and offers endless possibilities for storytelling and fashion exploration. It previously featured dolls with a prosthetic leg; hearing aids; a wheelchair; and vitiligo. Now, the latest addition is another effort to provide more diverse representations of beauty, in hopes to combat the stigma around physical disabilities.

 

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ICYDK, this genetic condition is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 21 that affects a person’s development, resulting in physical and intellectual differences such as mild to severe learning disabilities, delayed speech and language skills, and distinct physical features. In collaboration with the American organization National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), Mattel ensured the accuracy of the doll as a representation, down to its facial features, clothing, and accessories.

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Photo: Mattel

At first look, the Barbie Doll With Down Syndrome has a noticeably shorter frame than other Barbies. Mattel also described its face as having a rounder shape, with almond-shaped eyes, smaller ears, and a flat nasal bridge. “The doll’s palms even include a single line, a characteristic often associated with those with Down syndrome,” they added.

Meanwhile, meaningful symbols are incorporated in its floral dress with puff sleeves like butterflies (that symbolize Down syndrome) and the blue and yellow color palette (which represents Down syndrome awareness). Around its neck hangs a pink pendant necklace that features three arrows pointing upward–the icon for the third chromosome 21 present in individuals with the genetic condition which represents “rising up and moving forward.”

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Photos: Barbie on Instagram

The accessory is also matched with pink ankle-foot orthoses (AFOs)–shoe inserts that support feet and ankles while walking–as people with Down syndrome often have difficulties in maintaining balance, and have flat feet, or other foot deformities that can cause pain and discomfort.

 

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Kandi Pickard, NDSS president and CEO, said, “This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them… It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating.”

In a recent social media post, the brand even shared a video of families seeing the new dolls for the first time. Watch it below!

 

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Now released in the United States, the new Barbie Doll With Down Syndrome Wearing Floral Dress will also be available internationally soon.

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