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Mattel debuts Barbie doll with Down syndrome

Barbie: Countering social stigma through play


Now, perhaps more than any other time in recent history, it's Barbie's moment. It's her time to sparkle. With Barbiecore being a hot fashion trend, the new extended trailer being shown at Day 1 of CinemaCon and all the hype surrounding this summer's star-studded movie, you'd think it would be impossible to have any more love for this iconic toy. However, yesterday, Mattel did it. In a move to help even more children express themselves through imaginative play while also learning about others, the company announced the first Barbie doll with Down syndrome.

The importance of getting it right

To make sure the new Barbie accurately represented a person with Down syndrome, the company worked closely with the National Down Syndrome Society. With the NDSS’s guidance, every aspect of this Barbie was designed to connect with and celebrate individuals with Down syndrome.

Kandi Pickard, NDSS President and CEO, stated in a press release, "It was an honor working with Barbie on the Barbie doll with Down syndrome. This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them. This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation. It is a huge step forward for inclusion and a moment that we are celebrating."

Care was taken that the body and face sculpt of this doll was accurate. The body has a shorter torso with a longer frame, while the face is rounder with smaller ears and a flat nasal bridge. The almond-shaped eyes are set at a slight slant, and the palms have a single horizontal crease, as is often found in individuals with Down syndrome. 

Regarding fashion, the doll's primary clothing colors are yellow and blue — the two colors associated with the Down syndrome awareness ribbon. Also, the doll is wearing stylish pink ankle foot orthotics that match her sneakers.

In a press announcement, Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel, said, "​As the most diverse doll line on the market, Barbie plays an important role in a child’s early experiences, and we are dedicated to doing our part to counter social stigma through play. Our goal is to enable all children to see themselves in Barbie, while also encouraging children to play with dolls who do not look like themselves. Doll play outside of a child’s own lived experience can teach understanding and build a greater sense of empathy, leading to a more accepting world."

Best Barbie Fashionistas dolls 

The Barbie doll with Down syndrome is part of the 2023 Fashionistas line. Here are some of the top Fashionistas dolls that you can get right now.

Barbie Fashionistas Doll #165

This doll has trendy blonde hair styled in loose waves. She is wearing matching green and pink tropical print shorts and a top. This Barbie comes with a wheelchair and a ramp.

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Barbie Ken Fashionistas Doll #165

Wearing a purple “Malibu” top and blue-starred joggers with white sneakers, this doll has a keen sense of fashion. He has sculpted brown hair and is ready to go on a weekend beach adventure.

Sold by Amazon

Barbie Fashionistas Doll #105

Fashionistas Doll #105 slays. With her striped pink and red tank dress with stylish cutouts, she's ready to make an impression. Her fabulous afro and gold hoop earrings are on point.

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Barbie Ken Fashionistas Doll #193

Your first impression is probably, "I know this doll." The slender body shape, asymmetrical hair and stylish pink hoodie look like someone you know at school. Maybe it's you?

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Barbie Fashionistas Doll #177

This Barbie immediately stands out because of her long black hair and bright floral dress with puffed sleeves. To complete the striking ensemble, she's wearing purple strappy heels and a large butterfly ring.

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Barbie Fashionistas Doll #185

This fashion-forward Barbie has her black hair in an updo adorned by an orange bandana. She's wearing a stylish off-the-shoulder bleached denim dress and white boots. The freckles are an adorable touch.

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Barbie Fashionistas Doll #168

Sporting dynamic straight red hair and a zebra-striped print dress with puffed sleeves, this is one of the chicest Barbies you'll ever meet. Her large hoop earrings and comfortable shoes reveal her playful side.

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Barbie Ken Fashionistas Doll #212

This doll has a Ken-do attitude. He has a prosthetic leg, lavender shorts, bright green sneakers and a tie-dye Los Angeles jersey. His confident smile says he's lovin' life.

Sold by Amazon


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