Why Mattel’s New Gender-Neutral Dolls Matter
October 10, 2019
It can seem like the gender binary is everywhere. The bathrooms we use, the clothes we wear, the toys we play with—they can all make us choose: boy or girl. But what happens if you don’t fit in with either? The toy manufacturer Mattel created an opportunity for children to be flexible with how they play and express themselves, beyond just boy or girl. So, they released the Creatable World line, which includes six gender-neutral doll kits. You can create looks that are masculine, feminine, both, neither or anywhere in between.
Even though I’m 15, and some might say I’m too old, I was excited when I heard about this! I mean, each doll kit has over 100 possible styles! But I wasn’t only excited about the endless opportunities for fun, this doll is also a huge step toward a more gender-inclusive world. Gender-neutral toy options are often limited. The Creatable World line lets kids determine the doll’s look, instead of restricting them to just traditional female or male outfits.
“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,” says Kim Culmone, Senior Vice President of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, in a press release. The Creatable World line is inclusive in terms of gender and also race, featuring dolls with a range of skin tones. Kids seeing themselves represented in the toys available to them is so important. It shows them that they don’t have to be white or skinny or blond to be beautiful.
In the end, any way you want to express yourself is perfect, and your sex assigned at birth should not dictate how you do that. Limits are often put on gender expression. And in some places, it might not be safe for people to express themselves in ways outside of traditional gender norms. That is why the Creatable World line of dolls is so important. It can help normalize gender fluidity, so that in the future, hopefully those limits on gender expression can be a thing of the past.