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Mattel recently announced their latest addition to the Barbie world, met with much positivity. The doll, which depicts Barbie with Down syndrome, is allowing the range to become more inclusive and letting a more vulnerable group of individuals be proudly represented in society.
The move comes after other dolls that don’t conform with the original long-limbed blonde, tiny-waisted version of the 1950s were added to the range. In the past few years dolls with hearing aids, wheelchairs, and prosthetic limbs have been available on store shelves.
In a bid to represent more real women, the brand’s goal was to enable “all children to see themselves in Barbie,” and “play with dolls who do not look like themselves,” according to a report in the BBC.
And as Mattel’s global head of Barbie and Dolls, Lisa McKnight, pointed out, the company aims to “teach understanding and build a greater sense of empathy, leading to a more accepting world,” with their latest addition.
The company worked closely with the US National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to include specific design details so that she could easily be distinguished as having Down syndrome.
While the characteristic physical features, such as eye and nose shape, help to accurately represent Down syndrome, the toy company paid particular attention to other details, too.
The colors of the dress are linked to awareness campaigns about Down syndrome, and the pink necklace has “three upward chevrons representing the three copies of the 21st chromosome, the genetic material that causes the characteristics associated with Down’s syndrome,” according to the BBC.
While the new doll is a much-welcomed extension of the range, the words of a British model with Down syndrome, Ellie Goldstein, really show the impact of the new doll on those with that extra chromosome.