Mattel, a toy company that creates popular brands such as Barbie, Hot Wheels and American Girl announced this month that they are launching Creatable World, a line of dolls that are gender inclusive. The line will consist of six different dolls that are available in a variety of skin tones and will allow kids to create their own characters using numerous outfits and wigs.
This is a fresh new way to reassure children that it’s okay to be different. The Barbie franchise is known for its lack of diversity in the past. Now offering both feminine and masculine options for clothes gives children a chance to reflect who they are and their own idea of beauty.
“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,” said Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel fashion doll design. “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.”
In a world where gender roles and norms are starting to bend and become more relaxed, these dolls will teach children from a young age that they don’t have to be aligned with every cookie-cutter rule that society expects of them. They can throw away the toxic masculinity and fear of being bullied for being unique. This will make a profound difference in their confidence as they develop and grow. They won’t have to worry about being unlike the beautiful, plastic doll because they will find beauty in the way they create their own doll.
The dimensions of Barbies are shockingly out of touch, yet this is the doll that young children play with and develop their idea of what is beautiful, all while unaware that the levels and proportions are unattainable and unrealistic. These new dolls will have no makeup, facial hair, breasts or broad shoulders to make it easier to achieve a gender-neutral appearance.
Although the company has been facing scrutiny from their more conservative customers, it won’t stop them from launching the line, and it won’t stop children from being different. They need to grow up knowing that’s okay and they will be accepted and loved no matter what.