Barbie Company Mattel Launches Creatable World Line Of Gender-Neutral Dolls

'We heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms,' the company said in a statement.

the mattel booth at comic-con
Gage Skidmore / Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0 Cropped and Resized)

'We heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms,' the company said in a statement.

Mattel, the manufacturer of the classic Barbie doll line, will introduce a line of customizable, gender-neutral dolls, the company says in an internal press release.

The Creatable World™ line of dolls will feature toys with multiple options for dressing and styling, all in one box. Kids can dress the dolls in traditionally feminine clothes, such as skirts and blouses, or in traditionally masculine clothes, such as pants. Similarly, kids can style the dolls’ hair in more traditionally feminine, long styles or in traditionally masculine, short styles.

The line consists of six different doll kits that are available in a variety of skin tones. Each kit includes one doll, two hairstyle options, and multiple styling options. With a suggested retail price of $30 per kit, parents can purchase the dolls at most major retailers, such as Target and Walmart, as well as the retailers’ online stores and Amazon.

The line was put together with the help of a team of parents, physicians, child development experts, and, most importantly of all, kids.

In a statement, Kim Culmone, Senior Vice President of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, said that the time has come for the company to celebrate gender inclusivity.

“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,” she said.

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Mattel has been bringing in dolls that don’t conform to traditional societal norms for some time now, in an effort to be inclusive of kids who may not have been customarily represented in toys. For example, in February, as CNN reported at the time, Mattel, through its Barbie brand, introduced a doll who uses a wheelchair and has prosthetic limbs. Jordan Reeves, 13-year-old disability activist who was born without a left forearm, worked with the company to create the doll, which also included a wheelchair-accessible ramp for the Barbie Dream House.

Meanwhile, more and more parents are attempting to not limit their children to more traditional gender roles when it comes to dress and play. As The Cut reports, some parents are allowing their children to dress in traditionally boys’ or traditionally girls’ clothes, or to play with traditionally boys’ or traditionally girls’ toys. Some parents take this concept even further, declining to use specific gender pronouns with their children or, in the case of a British couple, as reported by The Inquisitr, even refusing to tell the child’s family members his or her biological gender.