2019 has been a year of progressive changes, many being in the LGBTQ community focusing on gender related issues. Mattel, the creator of Barbie and other well-known products has jumped on the progressive band-wagon and have done something that’s never been done before.
On September 25, 2019, Mattel launched the first gender-neutral doll collection called, Creatable World. These dolls are now available for boys, girls, and all the children in between. In an interview with The New York Times, Kim Culmone, Mattel’s executive for Creatable World stated, the line is intended to reflect our culture “as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity.”
With a hashtag of #AllWelcome, Mattel is appealing to children of all types and encouraging them to “feel welcome” in a world where it can sometimes be difficult. The six different collections come with dolls varying in skin tones, hair styles, and outfit choices. From braided black hair to short blonde hair, there is a style to fit everyone. You can choose to mix up the outfits however you please, whether you place a short blonde-haired doll in a dress or a long black-haired doll in pants and a tee-shirt, all are options accepted.
Culmone stated, “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. We’re hopeful Creatable World will encourage people to think more broadly about how all kids can benefit from doll play.”
However, don’t get confused, Creatable World is not considered a Barbie. Michelle Chidoni, a Mattel spokeswoman expressed, “They are intended to be ‘relatable,’ not ‘aspirational’ like Barbie. They are not supposed to be adults, like Barbie and Ken, but rather they were ‘designed specifically to have a youthful gender-neutral appearance.’” Mattel worked alongside a team of parents, physicians, experts, and children to develop this line. Creatable World has forever changed the world of dolls and so many childrens’ views on gender and fitting in.
Opinions and beliefs on gender are constantly changing and developing. Mattel realizes that not all people will stand behind this addition to the brand. Mattel’s president, Richard Dickson stated in an interview with Time, “We’re not in the business of politics. We respect the decision any parent makes around how they raise their kids. 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.”
Regardless of negative beliefs and opinions, Mattel has created something for all and took a progressive stance in the world. The gender-neutral doll kits can be purchased at Target, Walmart and Amazon. For more information involving Creatable World, visit their website.