Mattel revealed its first Barbie doll representing a person with Down syndrome on Tuesday.
Mattel collaborated with the National Down Syndrome Society to create the Barbie and “ensure the doll accurately represents a person with Down syndrome,” the company said.
Design features of the new Barbie were made under guidance from NDSS, Mattel said. In addition to portraying some physical characteristics of a person with Down syndrome, Barbie’s clothing and accessories carry special meaning.
The blue and yellow on the doll’s dress, accompanied by butterflies, represent symbols and colours associated with Down syndrome awareness. And the three chevrons on Barbie’s necklace represent how people with Down syndrome have three copies of their 21st chromosome, Mattel said.
In addition, Barbie wears ankle foot orthotics, which some children with Down syndrome use.
“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,” Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and dolls at Mattel, said in the statement.