Mattel Breaks Barriers by Introducing New Doll

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Mattel Breaks Barriers by Introducing New Doll

Kasuni Wickramasinghe, Contributing Writer

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Dolls have been associated with femininity and daintiness for centuries. Porcelain skin, perfectly blushed cheeks, and rosy red lips were a staple of every young girl’s collection. Barbie, by Mattel, is an iconic toy and was initially engineered towards young girls as a line of fashion dolls. The separation of blue and pink has slowly been blurring over, with less restrictions on who is allowed to play with toys that are perceived as “boys’ toys” or “girls’ toys,” such as trucks and chemistry kits for the former, and dolls for the latter. In 2015, the major retail chain, Target, removed gender labels from its aisles in many of its stores, encouraging children to pursue their interests, no matter how they identify. Acknowledging this shift, Mattel has taken an interesting step, launching the world’s first line of gender-neutral dolls.

The dolls are marketed as a part of the Creatable World line. The slogan, “A doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in,” is one that is intended to promote inclusivity. The dolls themselves were carefully designed so that the lips, eyes, chest, and overall body shape reveal no obvious gender. Each doll has short hair but comes with a long-haired wig, and the dolls come in a variety of skin tones. The outfit options–ranging from pants and t-shirts, to dresses and skirts– allow kids to mix and match various elements and create their own avatars to match their personalities. The dolls customization capabilities make the doll relatable to any child, and the product lets “toys be toys, so kids can just be kids.” 

Mrs. Stephanie Vesper, a teacher at Morris Hills, described the dolls as “redefining, evolved, and inclusive.” She believes that the new doll-line has the potential to positively shape young children today, saying, “ I think it’s great that kids might find this gender-neutral doll as a reflection of themselves, or as a model for someone they might meet one day.” It will be interesting to see how these dolls are received by the public going forward. Consumer rates may struggle, due to the fact that the doll is sold at a hefty thirty dollars, compared to the typical eight-dollar Barbie. Currently, the dolls are only sold on Amazon.com, but Mattel plans on introducing them to physical stores this year.