Mattel releases a new line of gender-neutral dolls which it says is “free of labels”

Mattel's Barbie and Ken helped define gender norms for decades. Now Mattel is determined to challenge them.
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It’s 2019 and Mattel might just be the first toy to company to realise that.

The toy juggernaut announced on Wednesday in the US that a new line of dolls are coming to town, and they’re perfect for children who “don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms”.

Mattel’s new line of gender-neutral Creatable World dolls is not only challenging the idea of ‘boys toys’ and ‘girls toys’, but the idea of gender itself.

“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,” Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, said in a statement.

The Creatable World figures are not stereotypically male or female. The dolls come with a kit that includes wigs with long and short hairstyles and non gender specific clothing options like jeans, leggings and denim jackets.

The six dolls in Mattel’s new “Creatable World” line also come in different skin tones.

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“We never talked to a kid who didn’t flip from joy when they saw the doll,” Monica Dreger, Mattel’s vice president of global consumer insights told The Washington Post.

Dreger hopes the doll puts an end to a common story she heard throughout the two years of intensive research and development that went into bringing Creative World to fruition.

“Some kids said birthdays and Christmas were their worst days because they didn’t feel it was acceptable to ask for what they wanted,” as was often the case for young boys who wanted a doll, Dreger said.

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As expected, the reaction from consumers on Twitter is ranging from supportive to super negative.

However the many voices saying how they wished such a doll had been available to them when they were younger are the ones we should be paying attention to if the happiness of all of our children is important.

For now the dolls will be available at US retailers including Amazon, Target and Walmart.

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