Mattel has announced the release of its first-ever Barbie with Down syndrome in an effort to represent more young girls around the world.
The brand’s latest doll will be available to pre-order from Smyths starting today across the UK.
British model Ellie Goldstein, 21, who lives with Down syndrome and has worked with Vogue, Gucci and Adidas, celebrated the new doll’s arrival, admitting she was “overwhelmed” with joy when she saw the toy.
Mattel worked with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in the US to design the doll to better represent women with the condition, and it comes with a shorter frame and longer torso, as well as features commonly associated with Down syndrome.
Barbie was released as part of the brand’s comprehensive collection of Fashionistas.
Mattel has released the first-ever Barbie doll with Down syndrome as part of its comprehensive Fashionista line. Pictured: British model Ellie Goldstein revealed she was overwhelmed by the game’s arrival
Her face and frame are larger than other Barbie dolls to represent the body shape of many women with Down syndrome.
Her face is also round, with smaller ears, a flat nose bridge and almond-shaped eyes. Her palm has a single line, a characteristic that can be associated with Down syndrome.
The doll comes dressed in a blue and yellow dress with a butterfly pattern: colors associated with Down syndrome awareness.
Her pink necklace is made of three ascending crests, which represent three copies of the 21st chromosome.
This genetic material causes the characteristics associated with the condition. The chevrons, which look like small arrows, are symbolic of “The Lucky Few,” and they represent people with Down syndrome.
Mattel leaves nothing to chance, and Barbie’s choice of shoes matters, too.
The doll, which was designed with the help of the National Down Syndrome Society in the United States, has many features and symbols associated with the condition, from its face to the shape of its body. The blue and yellow colors of her dress are associated with DS consciousness, and many people with the condition also wear ankle foot orthoses.
The doll’s face is round, with smaller ears, a flat nose bridge and almond-shaped eyes. Her palm has a single line, a characteristic that can be associated with Down syndrome
She’s wearing Pink Ankle Foot Orthotics (also called AFOs for short) that match her other accessories.
AFOs are often used in the United States for children with the condition, and while not all people with Down syndrome wear them, Mattel has chosen to represent adaptive equipment by including them as accessories for their dolls.
Candy Picard, president and CEO of NDSS, said it was an ‘honor’ to consult on the doll’s thoughtful design.
“This means a lot to our community, who for the first time can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them,” she said.
This Barbie is a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation. It’s a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment to celebrate.
Ellie Goldstein was one of the first people in the UK to see the doll and was overwhelmed with emotion.
Elle, who has worked with Gucci and Adidas and is one of British Vogue’s May cover stars, said the doll in the photo means a lot to her.
The model said she was “honored” to introduce the doll to the British public, and added that diversity should be shown, not “hidden”.
The Barbie doll is part of the Fashionista lines, which includes Ken with a prosthetic leg and dolls of different races and body shapes
“I am so happy to have Barbie with Down Syndrome,” said the supermodel, who is one of British Vogue’s May cover stars. “Seeing the doll, I was so overwhelmed – it meant so much to me and I am so proud and privileged to have chosen Barbie to show the world.” .
She added, “Diversity is important to me because people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not hide away.”
Carol Boyes, CEO of the Down Syndrome Society UK, also welcomed the addition of the doll to the Fashionista collection.
What is Down syndrome
Down syndrome is a genetic condition that usually causes some degree of learning disability and certain physical characteristics.
- Sagging at birth
- Eyes slanted down and out
- small mouth
- Flat back of the head
Screening tests can detect Down syndrome during pregnancy but are not entirely accurate.
It results from the presence of an extra chromosome in a baby’s cell due to a genetic change in the sperm or egg.
The chance of this happening increases according to the age of the mother.
A 20-year-old woman has a 1 in 1,500 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome.
Women in their 40s have a 1 in 100 chance.
There is no evidence that a woman can reduce her chances of having a baby with Down syndrome.
There is no cure for Down syndrome.
Treatment focuses on supporting the patient’s development.
People with Down syndrome have a higher chance of health complications such as heart disorders, hearing problems, thyroid problems, and frequent infections.
Source: NHS Choices
She said: “As the UK’s only charity supporting all aspects of Down syndrome, we often hear from families who feel their children are under-represented in the mainstream media”:
We therefore welcome the fact that children in our community will be able to play with a doll that represents them and their life. We look forward to seeing them on shelves alongside hearing aid-wearing, wheelchair-bound Barbies celebrating inclusion.
This year, the Fashionista collection also includes a Barbie doll with clips and Ken with a prosthetic leg.
said Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global president of Barbie and Dolls, Mattel.
Our goal is to enable all children to see themselves in Barbie, while also encouraging children to play with dolls that don’t look like them.
Doll play outside of the child’s lived experience can teach understanding and build a greater sense of empathy, leading to a more accepting world. We are proud to introduce the Barbie doll with Down Syndrome to better reflect the world around us and reinforce our commitment to celebrating inclusion through play.