There’s no denying that Mattel, the company that manufactures all Barbie-related merchandise, has changed from its inception. Once upon a time, Barbie dolls were not as diverse.
The push to add more range to Barbie dolls was introduced in 1980 when the first Black and Latina Barbie doll hit the market. From then on, Mattel began delving into ways to make the Barbie doll more relatable, while also preparing its target demographic for future events such as careers, hobbies, and more.
Continuing that trend, Mattel recently announced the addition of a Barbie doll with Down syndrome, which was created to allow even more children to see themselves in Barbie, as well as have Barbie reflect the world around them. According to an official press release, the Barbie doll with Down syndrome is meant to inspire all children.
This move is extremely important considering that Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal condition diagnosed in the United States. About 1 in every 700 babies are born with Down syndrome as per the CDC. Still, it is important to note that each person with Down syndrome has different talents and abilities to thrive.
The impact of a Barbie doll
All children deserve to feel identified with their toys. After all, representation matters even more during the early years of a child as it plays a significant role in child development and growth by giving them the opportunity to develop empathy and respect for differences.
“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,” said Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls, Mattel in an official statement.
“It was an honor working with Barbie on the Barbie doll with Down syndrome,” said Kandi Pickard, NDSS President and CEO in an official release.
“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.”
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