If you were to add up the hours I spent playing Barbies, first as a little girl and then as a mom of girls, I’m sure they’d number into the hundreds. My down the street neighbor and I used to set up whole cities for our combined collections and play on the living room carpet for days at a time, and those make-believe moments are some of my fondest childhood memories.
Most of our Barbies back then all looked the same: tall, tiny waisted, and sporting long, wavy hair.
Gratefully, Mattel has worked to diversify its bevy of Barbies in recent years. Now Barbie comes in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and backgrounds.
And today on GMA, the company unveiled a new add to its lineup of popular dolls: a Barbie with Down syndrome, the first of its kind to be produced.
Mattel partnered with the National Down Syndrome Society to design the doll, with the hope of allowing more children “the chance to see themselves in Barbie, better reflect the world they see around them, and foster a sense of inclusivity for kids everywhere.”
The new Barbie reflects some of the characteristics commonly associated with Down syndrome, including a shorter stature, a rounder face with slightly almond-shaped eyes, and a single line on her palms.
Mattel also included meaningful symbols in the doll’s accessories, like the use of blue and yellow in her butterfly-detailed outfit, all symbols of Down syndrome awareness. She wears a pink pendant necklace with three arrows pointing outward, representing the third 21st chromosome individuals with Down syndrome are born with. She even wears special shoes and foot orthoses (AFOs) to match her outfit, complete with zipper detail for easy on-and-off.
The attention to detail and inclusion represented in the new Barbie is earning her high praise on social media too.
.@Barbie debuts its first ever doll with Down syndrome! 💗
— Good Morning America (@GMA) April 25, 2023
Every child deserves to see a little bit of themselves in a Barbie!
— mrsnewton (@mrsdorinewton) April 25, 2023
Barbie has done it again! The company is ensuring there is representation and diversity in children’s toys. @Mattel and @Barbie have announced the release of their first-ever doll with Down syndrome. We can’t wait for children to start playing with these! Way to go, Barbie! 💕 pic.twitter.com/qZFAC3R20c
— The Warren Center (@TheWarrenCenter) April 25, 2023
Well done, Mattel! I’m excited to add this doll to my daughters’ collection—as soon as it’s back in stock.