Barbie Introduces First Ever Doll with Down’s Syndrome to Raise Awareness
By: Michelle Liew
Leading toymaker Mattel has introduced its first Barbie doll ever with Down’s Syndrome, in an effort to make its dolls more inclusive.
In a statement on Tuesday, the company collaborated with the National Down’s Syndrome Society in the United States (US) in an effort to produce the statue.
The doll has a shorter frame and a longer torso and its face is rounder with smaller ears, a flat nasal bridge and almond-shaped eyes which can all be characteristics of women who have the genetic condition.
The doll is also equipped with an outfit decorated with butterflies and flowers in yellow and blue - colours associated with Down’s Syndrome awareness.
The new doll also has a pink pendant necklace with three upward chevrons representing the three copies of the 21st chromosome, the genetic material that causes the characteristics associated with Down's syndrome.
It also wears pink ankle foot orthotics to match its outfit. This is due to the fact that some children with Down's syndrome use orthotics to support their feet and ankles.
"This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them.
"We should never underestimate the power of representation. It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating,” US National Down Syndrome Society President and CEO Kandi Pickard stated.
British model Ellie Goldstein, an advocate for inclusion, visibility and understanding of people with Down's syndrome, said she felt "overwhelmed" when she saw the doll.
"Diversity is important...as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away," she added.