Like most Barbies, the Barbie with Down Syndrome doesn’t talk, allowing kids to make up their own dialogue as they play. And yet, I think she says a whole lot with her design, no words necessary! For example, when first looking at the Barbie with Down Syndrome, I thought to myself, “She doesn’t look that different from a typical Barbie.” Immediately after I had that thought, another one hit me: “I guess that is the point! People with Down Syndrome are more alike to the rest of us than they are different.” Since I know several wonderful people with Down Syndrome, I have to say that my own experiences have proved my observations to be true.
Mattel isn’t just representing people with Down Syndrome, however. This new Barbie is part of their 2023 Fashionista line. This line is a collection of dolls with different abilities, hair types, skin colors, and body types, aimed at representing all children who play with Barbies. Mattel says the Fashionista line features “35 skin tones, 97 hair styles, 9 body types and counting.”
I for one am pretty pleased with Mattel’s inclusive move here. I surely wish I’d had a more diverse set of dolls when I was a child to help me see that not everyone was just like me, and that there is so much beauty and value in all the many variations of humans that God has created in His image. Kudos to the toy brand and to the National Down Syndrome Society for this amazing joint effort.