Listen to this article here
Sign-Up for a free subscription to The Black Wall Street Times‘ daily newsletter, Black Editors’ Edition (BEE) – our curated news selections & opinions by us for you.
Mattel has continued their focus on representation in their newest Barbie doll with Down Syndrome.
Toymaker Mattel has partnered with the National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) to create a Barbie doll that “accurately represents a person with Down Syndrome,” the toy company said.
“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,” said Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel. “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. We are proud to introduce a Barbie doll with Down Syndrome to better reflect the world around us and further our commitment to celebrating inclusion with play.”
The NDSS gave Mattel guidance for the design features of the Barbie doll. The blue and yellow on the doll’s dress along with butterflies represent symbols and colors associated with Down Syndrome awareness. The three chevrons on the Barbie’s necklace represent how people with Down Syndrome have three copies of their 21st chromosome, Mattel said.
The Barbie doll also has ankle foot orthotics, which some children with Down Syndrome wear.
“This means so much for our community, who for the first time, can play with a Barbie doll that looks like them,” NDSS President and CEO Kandi Pickard said in a statement. “This Barbie serves as a reminder that we should never underestimate the power of representation.”
Mattel Introduces New Little Mermaid Doll For Halle Bailey
Last month Mattel introduced a new Little Mermaid doll for Halle Bailey’s upcoming film.
“I’m literally choking up because this means so much to me. And to have one that looks like me and is my favorite Disney character is very surreal–and she even has my mole,” said Bailey.
The new “Little Mermaid” doll comes after Disney released its final trailer for the live-action film that is set to premiere May 26. Bailey has received round after round of backlash and racism from online trolls who adamantly argue that Ariel, a fictitious character, was and will always be White.
Over the years, Mattel has introduced Barbies with hearing aids, wheelchairs, prosthetic limbs, as well as those experiencing hair loss living with vitiligo.