Playing with dolls is said to have a significant impact on how children perceive the appearances and identities of others.
After all, much has been discussed about the impact playing with impossibly slim and glamorous Barbie dolls has on the self esteem of little girls.
Could playing with transgender dolls help kids to be more accepting as they prepare to enter the modern world?
Awareness of transgender issues could be said to have improved in recent years, with outspoken transgender people such as Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox holding mainstream platforms in popular culture.
Today’s children are growing up in a much more open and understanding society than in previous decades and have the potential to grow into empathetic adults capable of building a fairer and happier world.
The toys they play with should arguably reflect this, however a toy with transgender connotations can still cause controversy, even in this contemporary age.
A doll in Argentina has divided parents after a surprised mother shared images of it on social media.
With shining auburn hair and a glittering fairy costume, the doll looks much like any other you might find in your local Toys ‘R’ Us.
That is until you lift up the colourful skirt and discover this female doll actually has male genitalia where you would usually expect to see plastic smoothness.[media-credit name=”RuptlyTV
It remains unclear whether or not this design was a deliberate, subversive act by the manufacturer.
However, this doll has still ignited debate within Argentina and beyond about the power of toys to influence kids on more serious issues.
For many children struggling with their gender identity, this toy could be an age appropriate learning tool for finding out about transgender issues?
You can check out this doll with a difference below:
This isn’t the only ‘transgender doll’ on the market. Kids can now also play with dolls modelled on LGBTQ rights activist Jazz Jennings.
Although this doll doesn’t have genitals, it’s based on one of the youngest transgender spokeswomen ever; celebrating her achievements as a positive role model for young people.
Jazz has previously praised the stylish doll through her Instagram account, stating:
This is the first transgender doll on the market, and guess what?! It’s ME!!!
@tonnerdoll did a great job of creating this beautiful item! It will be available in July, and I hope that it can place transgender people in a positive light by showing that we are just like all other people.
For those asking: the doll is considered to be the first "transgender” doll because it’s based on an individual who is trans.
Of course it’s still just a regular girl doll because that’s exactly what I am: a regular girl!
This is the first transgender doll on the market, and guess what?! It's ME!!!?? @tonnerdoll did a great job of creating this beautiful item! It will be available in July, and I hope that it can place transgender people in a positive light by showing that we are just like all other people? For those asking: the doll is considered to be the first "transgender" doll because it's based on an individual who is trans. Of course it is still just a regular girl doll because that's exactly what I am: a regular girl!?
CEO of the Tonner Doll Company, Robert Tonner, has spoken with Forbes about designing Jazz’s special doll:
My [gym] trainer says, ‘What makes this a transgender doll if she has no parts?
I said it’s about who it represents. It represents a person with an issue that – 20 years ago, you couldn’t have done it.
Now it’s opening up conversations and that’s what I like about it.
I see that the Tonner Doll Company has released a transgender doll earlier this year, modelled on the US teenager and LGBTQ campaigner Jazz Jennings, which I think is great. I wonder if Mattel have any plans to release any transgender dolls?
— Charlie Rivers (@TgEqualityNow) November 22, 2017
Jazz Jennings got a doll created to her likeness and I support it 110%
— LEMON (@DrHansenCabello) June 22, 2017
Why does it matter that the doll is trans? Kids don't care, all they see is a doll. They have no clue what a transgender person is.
— Hunter (@HunterMG__) February 24, 2017
Its great to see Tonner Doll Company embrace and celebrate transgender identities.
Will other toy companies follow this plastic-fantastic example?
Surely Barbie has a transgender friend or two who would be up for hanging out at the Dreamhouse?
Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.