Mattel released the world’s first gender-neutral doll on Wednesday in what it says is an attempt to promote inclusivity.
“This line allows all kids to express themselves freely which is why it resonates so strongly with them.”
The new line of dolls, called “Creative World,” is designed as a series of “kits” that include a variety of customization options such as wigs and different articles of clothing, The Washington Post reported.
Kits cost $30 each and are available for purchase on Mattel’s website.
— MATTEL (@Mattel) September 25, 2019
Monica Dreger, Mattel’s head of consumer insights, sees the new line as a move toward realism and a departure from the company’s famous Barbie and Ken dolls.
“It’s not aspirational, it’s a way [children] can imagine themselves,” Dreger said. “A slightly cooler version of themselves.”
Dreger also said that the new dolls would be ideal for “gender-creative” kids left unsatisfied by the binary choice of “masculine” and “feminine” toys, according to Time.
Unlike Barbie and Ken, the Creative World dolls break from traditional “stereotypes” associated with boys and girls.
“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,” Mattel executive Kim Culmone said in the company’s statement.
Another feature of the new line is the dolls’ “age.” While Barbie and Ken are supposed to be adults, Creative World dolls are “designed specifically to have a youthful gender-neutral appearance,” Culmone said.
After conducting extensive research, Dreger and Culmone are confident the new product line will be a hit with children across America.
“We never talked to a kid who didn’t flip from joy when they saw the doll,” Dreger said, according to The Post.
“One of the things [the kids] pushed back on a lot was labeling. It was this big, huge force, almost like, if you’re constricting them, they really pushed away.
“When you take away the labels, it becomes for everybody.”
Mattel representatives spoke with 25o families around the country, according to The New York Times.
“We talked to them about what they had in dolls currently and what they were looking for,” Culmone said.
“The kids didn’t want to be told that boys had to play with cars and girls had to play with dolls.”
While Mattel’s new dolls are unlikely to be popular with all Americans, the company may have social science data on its side.
According to the Pew Research Center, 76 percent of the American public thinks it is “a somewhat or very good thing for parents to steer girls toward boy-oriented toys and activities.”
Likewise, 64 percent think parents should “encourage boys to play with toys and participate in activities usually associated with girls.”
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