Mattel Brings Gender Neutral Toys to The Mainstream

Mattel’s most famous doll, Barbie, sure has evolved since her introduction in 1959 when she looked more like a Stepford wife than a toy meant to spark the imagination. Barbie’s blonde ambition has been toned down in recent years and her collection now includes dolls with a variety of skin tones, ethnicities, and even abilities. And now, the world is welcoming a gender-neutral doll and it is about damn time.

“With 100 + looks all in one kit, #CreatableWorld gives kids the opportunity to play without rules or labels. Learn more about how we’re empowering kids to create a world with their own characters,” Mattel wrote on Twitter. The Creatable World doll comes in a box set that features a doll with short hair, six clothing options and wig with a long hair feature. There are six different dolls too, each featuring a different skin tone and hair texture and color, including a redhead doll. They retail for $30 ad are available now at Amazon, Target, and Walmart.

The move to make dolls more inclusive and representative of the kids who actually play with them is an important step toward teaching kids to recognize and appreciate differences instead. The days of teaching kids “tolerance” need to go because we tell kids to be tolerant of others, what we are really saying is that differences aren’t to be celebrated they are to be put up with. What kind of world is that?

Gender-neutral toys have been around for a long time; however, they were generally relegated to the world of Waldorf style toys that require children to use imagination in order to see themselves in the toys they play with. Think plain wooden blocks or dolls without faces or clothes that do not denote ethnicity or culture cues. This move by Mattel brings modern-looking dolls that are intentionally inclusive into the mainstream and gives kids an opportunity to see themselves in a meaningful way.

Mattel posted a video tweet showing the world some of the fun features of the Creatable World doll collection and honestly, it’s pretty damn awesome.

The dolls are 11-inches tall and come with short hair and wearing shorts and a tank top. Kids can mix and match the clothes, shoes, and accessories to create more than 100 different characters, which includes switching easily between long or short hair. One nice detail is that the clothing and accessory choices Mattel made for the Creatable World doll collection are inspired “straight off the playground”, which means kids can dress their dolls to resemble their real-life worlds. If the intention here is to bring boys, girls, and nonbinary kids to an equalized playing field then Mattel has struck the exact right chord. These dolls are all about imaginative play and that is a precious thing.

Well done, Mattel!

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