Thursday, March 22, 2012
Mommy I want a T21 Barbie
World Down Syndrome Day has just passed and I blogged yesterday about teaching our children as they are the one's who suffer at the hands of our (parents/adults) influence; right or wrong. They are naturally unassuming and non-judgemental I feel. It is not until we put our own biases, opinions, likes and dislikes on them by way of modelling, do they form "opinions" about people, places or things that surround them in the world.
I also thought a lot about the benefits of play and what children play with and how it influences their opinions and view of the world. We are still susceptible as adults to influence of images and items to tell us what "Beautiful" looks like or is supposed to look like. You can then imagine the influence toys have on children and their perception of beauty.
Barbie is a teacher to children. She comes in many forms, face shapes, skin colors, and cultural backgrounds. Her body shape has yet to change (but that is a whole other blog) but I noticed a group not represented; people with Down Syndrome (or Trisomy 21 - T21). Barbie has come a long way since her debut in 1959. She has evolved to include a vast array of ethnic and cultural groups, mixed races, celebrities and more.
Kimora Lee Simmons Barbie ~ A beautiful mixed race face!
BUT WHERE IS THE T21 BARBIE MATTEL?
Let's do the math from a business perspective, because let's be real it is all about the dollars and cents to large corporations.
There are approximately 5.8 MILLION people worldwide with Down Syndrome (Approx 400,000 in the United States). They all have a family, siblings, friends, classmates and others who love them and are DOWN with inclusion. That is not to say that they ALL want a Trisomy 21 Barbie, however this is an entire market that has been untapped. Not to mention the millions of children that may want to naturally choose the beautiful Barbie with the almond shaped eyes!
I would love my daughters (bio and step)to be able to play with a T21 Barbie and share with their friends, promote inclusion, respect and tolerance through play! Barbie could use a T21 male counterpart too, move over Ken time for a Blake Barbie ;)
My Challenge to Mattel: Look into this possibility of making Barbie not only chic, global and fun but also representative to everyone! I will offer my services to creatively consult on the line!
I think Barbies creator Ruth Handler intended Barbie to be accessible and representative to all, don't you?