Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel, emphasizes the importance of diversity in early experiences and the role of Barbie in countering social stigma. The goal is to enable all children to see themselves in Barbie while also encouraging them to play with dolls that don’t look like them, fostering empathy and understanding.
To create an accurate representation of a person with Down syndrome, Barbie collaborated closely with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS), which empowers individuals with Down syndrome and their families by providing resources, driving policy change, and engaging with local communities. NDSS’s guidance informed the design process, including the doll’s sculpt, clothing, accessories, and packaging.
The new doll features a face and body sculpt more illustrative of women with Down syndrome, along with carefully chosen fashion and accessories inspired by Down syndrome awareness symbols and colors. The doll also wears pink ankle-foot orthotics (AFOs), which some children with Down syndrome use for support.
Barbie, the most inclusive doll line on the market, plays a crucial role in shaping children’s early experiences and fostering a sense of inclusivity. The 2023 Fashionistas lineup, including the Barbie doll with Down syndrome, is available for purchase from major retailers for $10.99 USD.
Image Credit: Mattel