Barbie Creator Mattel Releases Gender-Neutral Dolls
Mattel, the creator of the infamously feminine Barbie, has released a line of gender-inclusive dolls so kids can customise their look.
The ‘Creatable World’ collection dropped on Wednesday, showing kids their toys, like themselves, don’t have to be dictated by gender norms.
Dolls come packaged with two hairstyle options and ‘endless styling possibilities’ as owners can dress them in skirts or trousers, blouses, t-shirts or jackets and sandals, boots or trainers depending on what look they’re going for that day.
You can watch the trailer for the gender-neutral dolls here:
There are six different doll kits available with a variety of skin tones. Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, explained some are more feminine-presenting while others are more masculine-presenting, CNN reports.
The idea for the new launch apparently came from concern from both parents and children about the gender of toys, and Culmone hopes the collection will open up a dialogue around ‘what dolls are for and who dolls are for’.
Speaking of the gender-neutral dolls, she added:
Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we absolutely fundamentally believed it was time to launch a doll line free of labels and free of rules for kids.
Through research, we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms. This line allows all kids to express themselves freely which is why it resonates so strongly with them.
The dolls have been created by a ‘dedicated team of experts, parents, physicians and most importantly, kids’ and will aim to ‘encourage people to think more broadly about how all kids can benefit from doll play’, Culmone explained.
According to TIME, Mattel tested the dolls in the US with 250 families across seven states, including 15 children who identify as trans, gender-nonbinary or gender-fluid.
One gender-fluid child who tested the dolls said the toys looked much more like him, as opposed to his younger sister’s dolls which are ‘girly, princess stuff’.
Monica Dreger, head of consumer insights at Mattel, commented:
There were a couple of gender-creative kids who told us that they dreaded Christmas Day because they knew whatever they got under the Christmas tree, it wasn’t made for them.
This is the first doll that you can find under the tree and see is for them because it can be for anyone.
Mattel president Richard Dickson acknowledged not all parents would be comfortable with buying the gender-inclusive dolls for their children, commenting ‘we respect the decision any parent makes around how they raise their kids’, but hopefully the creation of the dolls will serve to educate adults further about the inclusive world their children are growing up in.
Kits come at a recommended retail price of £34.99 ($44 USD), and with over 100 different looks available they’re bound to keep youngsters entertained for a while!
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