Mattel Barbie Doll with Down Syndrome

When we say that we are pro-life, we must not only talk the talk. We must also walk the walk. Mattel, who has released controversial Barbie dolls in the past, has released its first doll with a genetic condition in the storied brand.

On April 25, Mattel announced the release of its first-ever Barbie doll with Down syndrome.

The doll is designed “to counter social stigma through play.”

The new doll was “created to allow even more children to see themselves in Barbie, as well as have Barbie reflect the world around them” and to “inspire all children to tell more stories through play,” Mattel said in a release.

“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,” Lisa McKnight, Executive Vice President and Global Head of Barbie & Dolls at Mattel said in the release.

The National Down Syndrome Society (NDSS) worked with Mattel to ensure the doll accurately represents a person with Down syndrome, including face and body sculptures that feature a shorter frame and a longer torso, a rounder facial shape, smaller ears, and a flat nasal bridge and “almond shaped” eyes.

For Abby Thielman, this is very personal. She reached out to Mattel two years ago and asked for a doll to be made that represents those who have Down syndrome. Abby’s little brother has Down syndrome. Mattel responded back to the then-8-year-old saying that they loved her idea and would forward it on to the creative department. On April 25, Abby realized that her request had been heard! Every voice matters.

“I feel happy about the new doll because it embraces the beauty and amazing-ness in people who are unique, especially children with Down syndrome. You should never think of a disability as a disability; you should think of it as a different ability.” Abby Thielman, age 10.

Having equal representation of genetic conditions furthers the pro-life movement where ALL life is valued, including the life with one extra chromosome.

The Barbie doll wears a pink pendant necklace with three upward chevrons, a symbol in the Down syndrome community that’s meant to represent “the lucky few” who have three copies of chromosome 21.

Creating this doll with Down syndrome is really Barbie saying, “we see you, we see your value, and we honor you as a part of our community.”

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