Smiley Movement logo

Mattel partners with charity to unveil Barbie with Down's syndrome

Words by Tess Becker

Representation in media matters, especially for kids growing up looking for characters they can see themselves in. One group of people that is historically underrepresented is people living with different disabilities, like Down’s syndrome.

Which is why it's great news that Barbie is launching its first doll with Down’s syndrome in an effort to help more children find a toy that represents them.

“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 through play,” Lisa McKnight, the executive vice president and global head of Barbie & dolls at Mattel, said in a statement.

The doll is part of a recent trend in Barbie dolls to introduce a more diverse representation of all types of people.

“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. 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,” McKnight said.

Barbie worked with the National Down Syndrome Society in order to accurately represent a person with Down syndrome.

That included shaping the doll's body to include a shorter frame and longer torso and a round face that features smaller ears and almond-shaped, slanted eyes, the NDSS said in their announcement.

“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,” NDSS President and CEO Kandi Pickard said in the group's statement.

Charity check-in

At Smiley Movement, we like to elevate the work of charities across the world. Here are three charities whose causes align with the themes in this article.

J3 Foundation. They help kids in the Los Angeles area with early development. Find out more and support them here

KID. They help support kids and families in crisis and with mental health support. Find out more

Save the Children. A humanitarian org that helps kids around the world. Support them here.

This article aligns with the UN SDG Partners of the Goals.

This article aligns with the following UN SDGs

You might also like…