Apr 25, 2023 - Economy

Mattel releases first Barbie doll with Down syndrome

Barbie doll

Mattel has released a new Barbie doll after working with a team from the National Down Syndrome Society. Photo: Mattel

The first Barbie doll representing a person with Down syndrome will “allow even more children to see themselves in Barbie," toy giant Mattel said Tuesday.

Why it matters: Over the years, Mattel has been criticized for promoting what some said was a narrow, unrealistic ideal of what is beautiful but has been working to diversify by adding more body sizes and features, an array of skin tones and hair textures.

  • The doll was released as part of the company's Fashionistas line which has included a doll with a wheelchair, one with a prosthetic leg and another with hearing aids.
  • Barbie worked with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to ensure the doll accurately represents a person with Down syndrome, the company said.
  • Mattel said the doll's physical features were reviewed by a medical professional.

What they’re saying: “This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation,” Kandi Pickard, NDSS president and CEO, said in a news release. “It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating.”

What's next: The 2023 Fall Fashionistas dolls, including the Barbie doll with Down syndrome, will be widely available in stores this summer and fall and cost $10.99.

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