Image courtesy: creatableworld.com
Toy manufacturer Mattel has unveiled a new line of gender-neutral dolls.
The toys — sold under the Creatable World line — retail for $30 (U.S.) and were created for children who “don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms,” Mattel said.
“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.
“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.”
The company says it partnered with experts, parents, and kids who, according to TIME, identify as trans, gender-nonbinary or gender-fluid, to create the line.
“Creatable World invites kids to create their own characters,” the company says.
“Extensive wardrobe options, accessories, and wigs allow kids to style the doll with short or long hair, or in a skirt, pants, or both.”
Each Creatable World kit will include one doll and two hairstyle options. The line is comprised of six different kits that are available in several skin tones.
The announcement comes amid a growing call for gender-neutral toys, clothes, and books for children, with shifts already happening in the marketplace.
In 2015, Target eliminated gender-specific toy sections for kids, and Disney stopped labeling their costumes as “girls” and “boys,” following pushback from parents.
Mattel phased out “boys” and “girls” toy divisions last year, replacing them with nongendered terms like “dolls” or “cars”.
The gender spectrum
Millennials appear to be leading the societal-wide shift toward gender neutrality.
In 2017, a poll conducted by Fusion found that 50 per cent of the 1,000, millennial-aged participants felt that gender is a spectrum, with some people “falling outside conventional categories.”
“This is a rallying cry of this generation,” Jess Weiner, a consultant for large companies that specialises in gender issues, said of the Creatable World line in an interview with TIME.
“Companies in this day and age have to evolve or else they die, they go away … And part of that evolving is trying to understand things they didn’t prior.”