Barbie has always been a trailblazer when it comes to fashion and beauty, but now she’s also breaking barriers in the world of diversity and inclusion. Mattel, the company behind the iconic doll, has just launched its first-ever Barbie who has Down syndrome, and she’s absolutely gorgeous.
Down syndrome is a condition in which a person has an extra chromosome 21, which affects how they look and learn. About one in every 700 babies in the U.S. is born with Down syndrome, according to the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS).
To make sure the new Barbie doll is a realistic and respectful representation of a person with Down syndrome, Mattel worked closely with NDSS on every detail of her appearance and style. The new Barbie has a shorter frame and a longer torso than other dolls, as well as a rounder face, smaller ears, a flat nose bridge and almond-shaped eyes. She also has a palmar crease on her palms, which is a common trait among people with Down syndrome .
The new Barbie is rocking a super cute outfit that matches her personality and celebrates her condition. She’s wearing a pink ankle foot orthotics to support her feet and ankles, and her sneakers have zippers for easy access. She’s also sporting a pink necklace with three upward chevrons that symbolize the extra chromosome 21. Her dress is covered with butterflies and flowers in blue and yellow – the colors of Down syndrome awareness .
“This Barbie is a game-changer for our community, who can finally play with a doll that looks like them,” Kandi Pickard, NDSS president and CEO said in a statement. “This Barbie shows that representation matters and that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. It is a huge win for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating.”
Mattel has been making its Barbie dolls more diverse and inclusive over the years. In 2016, it introduced Barbie dolls in different body types and skin tones, with different eye colors and hairstyles. In 2019, it launched Barbie Fashionistas, which have included dolls with vitiligo, hearing aids, prosthetic limbs and wheelchairs.
“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,” Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel, said in a statement.
The new Barbie doll who has Down syndrome will be available later this year at major retailers worldwide. We can’t wait to get our hands on her and add her to our collection of fierce and fabulous Barbies.