In a rather thoughtful move, American toy company, Mattel has introduced its first-ever Barbie with Down Syndrome, as it seeks to allow the future generation to see themselves in the popular figure. The company referred to it as “doing our part to counter social stigma through play”. Here’s everything you need to know about Barbie’s new version.
First-Ever Barbie With Down Syndrome
Growing up, Barbies have always remained an integral part of children’s life. Now, Mattel, known for delivering several versions of the popular figure since 1959, has come up with a rather thoughtful version of Barbie.
Mattel unveiled a first-ever Barbie doll Tuesday (April 25) representing those with Down Syndrome, as the company seeks to allow more children to see themselves in the popular figure. The company collaborated with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), to ensure the accuracy of this creation.
The company expressed that to create a perfect version, it worked closely with the NDSS, on the doll’s “shape, features, clothing, accessory and packaging to ensure that it accurately represents a person with Down syndrome.” The company feels that this is a major step in creating awareness about the syndrome among the masses.
For instance, the blue and yellow combination on the dress, accompanied by butterflies, represents symbols and colors associated with the condition. The three chevrons on its necklace represent the three copies of the 21st chromosome. This Barbie also wears ankle foot orthotics, representing the remedial measures used by people with the condition.
The blue and yellow on the doll’s dress, accompanied by butterflies, represent symbols and colors associated with Down syndrome awareness. And the three chevrons on Barbie’s necklace represent how people with Down syndrome have three copies of their 21st chromosome, Mattel said.
What Is Down Syndrome?
Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel revealed that “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.”
The company further narrated that the “new doll has a face and body sculpt aimed at being “more illustrative of women with Down syndrome, including a shorter frame and a longer torso.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, states:
“Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the U.S. today. About 6,000 babies are born across the country each year with Down syndrome. The genetic condition affects cognitive ability, causing mild to severe learning disabilities and distinctive facial characteristics.”
NDSS president and CEO released a statement, expressing gratitude towards the company. “This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them,” Kandi Pickard said.
Pickard added that the new Barbie is a reminder that one should never underestimate the power of representation. The move was termed a “huge step towards inclusion”, something Mattel has been long criticized for when it comes to Barbie dolls.