Dolls for All: Mattel Announces New Gender-Neutral Dolls

Mattel, the company behind the beloved dolls, Barbie andAmerican Girl, has announced that it will be releasing a new line of gender-neutral dolls called Creatable World. In their announcement, the company declared that this new line is “a doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in — giving kids the freedom to create their own customizable characters again and again.” The new line is something of a blank canvas, inviting kids to customize their own doll any way they wish - whether they want it to be boy, girl, both or neither!

With a development process that took 18 months, Mattel took this time to consult physicians, gender identity experts and even 250 families with children across the gender spectrum to come up with a doll that could really be anything you want. Creative World offers six new dolls with short hair, flat chests and slim figures in a range of skin tones – missing the square jaw of Ken or the round hips of Barbie. Announced on Wednesday, Sep. 25, the new line is available through retailers such as Amazon, Target and Walmart. 

Senior Vice President of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, Kim Culmone, said in a recent statement, “Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels.” She continued on to declare, “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.”

Courtesy: Time

The brand’s announcement tries to avoid either side of politics by saying, “Let toys be toys, so kids can just be kids.”

Mattel’s President himself, Richard Dickson, told Time that the doll isn’t meant to be a political statement: “We’re not in the business of politics… Our job is to stimulate imaginations. Our toys are ultimately canvases for cultural conversation, but it’s your conversation, not ours; your opinion, not ours.”

As you can imagine, the reactions to this new announcement were a bit mixed. Many showed love for the brand: 

Courtesy: Twitter

Courtesy: Twitter

Others, however, aren’t so excited about this new member of the Mattel family: 

Courtesy: Twitter

This is not Mattel’s first tango with pushing the boundaries of what dolls represent for children. If you remember, in 2016, Barbie got a huge makeover as Mattel launched a line of body-inclusive dolls, including tall, curvy and petite versions of your favorite doll. She was also made in a variety of skin tones and hair types for the first time. 

Mattel seems to be constantly shifting their focus as a brand, starting from a single doll style in 1959 to now including a variety of genders, body types and skin tones, and – their most requested item from Barbiefans – a doll in a wheelchair! They also won brownie points from a plethora of fans for their Inspiring Women Series, announced on International Women’s Day in 2018. As our culture continues to shift and change, Mattel is following right behind to reflect what this means for its children. 

 

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