Mattel, the maker of Barbie, has introduced the Chelsea doll, Barbie’s little sister, who has a curved spine and a removable back brace. While creating this new doll, the company worked closely with a board-certified neurosurgeon and specialist in children’s spinal disorders, Dr. Luke Macyszyn, to make sure that the doll was authentic.
By adding a doll with scoliosis to its collection, the brand hopes to normalize it—encouraging children playing with Barbie dolls to celebrate inclusion and involve dolls with disabilities like Chelsea’s in their storytelling and doll play. Mattel believes that playing with dolls like this one will help children develop empathy and social processing skills. “We believe in the power of representation and are committed to creating dolls in a variety of looks so that kids can see themselves in Barbie,” says Lisa McKnight, executive vice president and global head of Barbie and Dolls at Mattel.
“We’re proud to launch the first-ever Chelsea doll with a removable back brace to continue to be more reflective of the world kids see around them.”