Breaking down the binary of gender, Mattel's new "Creatable World" doll line shows children it's okay to express their gender identity any way they wish.
From the moment we're born, we're flocked with labels of gender and all the symbols that go with them. From the pink dresses girls are forced to wear to the toy cars that boys are gifted on their birthdays, we live in a world of organized and strict categories. Mattel, the company that produces the ever-famous Barbie doll, has now put their foot down and said, "No more!" Introducing their new line of gender-neutral or gender-nonconforming dolls, Creatable World, they have finally found a way to include everyone in play - no matter their gender identity or expression, CBS News reports.
The dolls, priced at $29.99, were created with children who "don't want their toys dictated by gender norms." Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, affirmed in an official 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... This line allows all kids to express themselves freely which is why it resonates so strongly with them. We're hopeful Creatable World will encourage people to think more broadly about how all kids can benefit from doll play." As families and education systems take a more spectrum-based approach to gender education (rather than a binary-based one), it is heartening to see that toy companies, which majorly influence children at a young age, are following suit.
Moreover, Megan Perryman of Let Toys Be Toys wrote in a blog post: This move by Mattel should not be underestimated. As a major player in the toy industry, this signals something that parents have known for a while – many children love dolls... We know that boys and girls are more alike than they are different, but it takes an inclusively-marketed toy like this to make that really apparent. The move also defeminizes the act of playing with dolls, which are seen as a traditionally female or feminine pastime. As Cara Natterson, a US pediatrician who helped develop the toy, noted, "A collection like this just knocks down every barrier to play."
Unfortunately, some individuals have not reacted favorably to the new line of dolls, claiming that toys do not have to be "politically correct." Nonetheless, the positive reactions from supporters have outshone the criticism. Twitter users LesBeMums, for example, posted on social media platform Twitter: My younger, gender non-conforming self thanks you, Mattel. While those who wish the toys were available when they were children may not have the opportunity to play with them, there is hope in the idea that future generations will take a more accepting, inviting, and label-free approach to gender, breaking barriers for all children. The line consists of six types of dolls in varied skin tones. Each doll includes two hairstyle options, short or long hair, and a myriad of outfit options. They can be purchased from Amazon, Target, and Walmart.