Barbie doll with Down’s syndrome launched by Mattel in campaign with model Ellie Goldstein
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Mattel has launched the first Barbie doll with Down’s syndrome to give children more opportunity to find a doll that represents them. The new doll joins a line-up of 175+ dolls that feature a variety of skin tones, hair textures, body diversity and disability to enable children to tell more stories through play.
The toy company bosses said they wanted to “enable all children to see themselves in Barbie” and partnered with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) in the US to bring the product to the market. Mattel’s latest doll joins the Barbie Fashionistas line, which is the most inclusive doll line available.
The line currently features dolls with a variety of disabilities including wheelchair users, prosthetic limbs, hearing aids, vitiligo and a doll without hair. This will be the first Barbie doll with Down’s syndrome to be included on the line since its conception in 1959 and is the first doll to feature an intellectual disability.
Mattel have launched their latest doll in a campaign alongside model Ellie Goldstein, who is the UK’s most prominent model with Down’s syndrome at the age of 21. Ellie uses her platform to advocate for a broader view of beauty across the fashion industry and made history as the first model with Down’s Syndrome to feature in major campaigns for brands such as Gucci Beauty and Adidas.
Goldstein said: “I am so happy that there is a Barbie with Down’s syndrome. Seeing the doll, I felt so overwhelmed - it meant a lot to me and I’m so honoured and proud that Barbie chose me to show the doll to the world. Diversity is important to me as people need to see more people like me out there in the world and not be hidden away.”
Mattel worked closely with the NDSS to ensure that the new Barbie accurately represented a person with Down’s syndrome as well as celebrating the community through the dolls’ clothing and accessories. The doll will introduce a new face and body shape to the Barbie line that is more illustrative of women with Down’s syndrome, including a shorter frame and longer torso.
Smaller details on the doll also include a single line on the palm which is a characteristic associated with those with Down’s syndrome. The doll also features a necklace with three upward chevrons that represents the three copies of the 21st chromosome, which causes the characteristics associated with the condition.
NDSS president and CEO, Kandi Pickard said: “It was an honour 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.” She added: “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.”
In the UK, the chief executive of the Down’s Syndrome Association, Carol Boys, said: “The Down’s Syndrome Association (DSA) are pleased to see that Barbie is introducing a doll who has Down’s syndrome into their range. As the only charity in the UK supporting all aspects of Down’s syndrome, we often hear from families who feel their children are not represented enough 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 lives. We look forward to seeing her on the shelves alongside Barbies who wear hearing aids, use wheelchairs, and celebrate inclusion.”
The new Barbie with Down’s syndrome will be available to pre-order on Tuesday, April 25, from Smyths and will be sold at £13.99 per doll.