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Barbie’s latest is a doll with Down syndrome

It’s only going to be more inclusive from here.

I’ve been a Barbie loyalist for as long as I can remember. From the Enchanted Forest and Swan Lake Barbie to the Twelve Dancing Princesses, I’ve played with them all. Barbie created a pink, sparkly, and sleek world of its own. For years, Barbie dolls shaped my idea of beauty. I wanted their long blonde hair, rosy lips, slender bodies, perfect outfits, heels, and accessories. But I didn’t look like that—and only years later, I realised I didn’t have to. 

Today, however, we see a change in the tide. Since its inception at the New York Toy Fair in 1959, we’ve seen a Barbie (r)evolution. The white, slender doll aesthetic evolved into different forms—an Indian Barbie that wore lehengas and jhumkas, a Barbie with curly hair, and a Barbie who is a judge amongst many other things—in their attempt to encourage diversity in every form. 


A few days ago, in another (might we say, incredible) attempt at making Barbie dolls a more inclusive toy for young children to play with, Mattel, the toymaker announced that their fashionistas line would also include a doll with Down syndrome. Their butterfly-printed dresses scream summer with yellows and blues, which happen to be the colours used to raise awareness about Down syndrome. We’re all heart for the attention to detail with a pendant necklace with three chevrons, a symbol of the 21st chromosome, and ankle-foot orthotics. According to First Post, Mattel collaborated with the National Down Syndrome Society, to make it as authentic as possible. 


Other Barbies on the fashionistas line-up include a Barbie with Scoliosis with a removable back brace, a doll with a hearing aid, a transgender Barbie, Ken with a prosthetic leg, a Barbie with braces, a Barbie with a Hijab, and so many more. 

Imagine a young kid, anywhere across the world, no matter how they look or what ethnic background they belong to, will have a doll to play with that looks just like them. They can dress them up the way they want, without conforming to convention. What can be more special than that? Children across the gender spectrum, differently-abled children, basically, every child will have a toy that makes them feel included and belong. A toy that celebrates their diversity and beauty. We love this move and can only hope for more. 


This comes with the buzz around the Barbie movie that also aims to create a Barbie universe that is inclusive in all its varied characters.