“Knowing we’ve created something that makes [children] feel recognised, that’s a beautiful thing”
BY FELICITAS SOPHIE VAN LAAK
Barbie-brand Mattel has launched the first range of gender-neutral dolls under the name, Creatable World.
On their website, the company states, “In our world, dolls are as limitless as the kids who play with them. Introducing Creatable World™, a doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in – giving kids the freedom to create their own customizable characters again and again.”
There are six dolls with varying skin tones and hair types. All of them have a preadolescent, slim body and short hair, which can be turned into a luscious mane with the included wig.
The dolls come with a set of clothes, including tulle skirts and floral designs, as well as plaid shirts and cargo shorts. With the hashtag #allwelcome, Mattel introduced their newest launch on Instagram.
We are a little bit in love with the video showing a doll changing the “boys will be boys” slogan to “toys will be toys”, realising the longstanding criticism of gendered children’s toys.
In the advertising spot, Mattel depicts children who use different pronouns, aligning itself with people who identify as trans and/or nonbinary. Mattel’s president Richard Dickson, however, stresses that the dolls are not a “political” statement.
Dickson told time.com, “We’re not in the business of politics and we respect the decision any parent makes around how they raise their kids. Our job is to stimulate imaginations.
“Our toys are ultimately canvases for cultural conversation, but it’s your conversation, not ours; your opinion, not ours.”
What impact does he think the conversation the toy undeniably contributes to will have on children today?
“I think if we could have a hand in creating the idea that a boy can play with a perceived girl toy and a girl can play with a perceived boy toy, we would have contributed to a better, more sensitive place of perception in the world today.”
He only hints at children who struggle with preconceived gender identities, continuing:
“Even more so for the kids that find themselves in that challenging place, if we can make that moment in their life a bit more comfortable, and knowing we created something that makes them feel recognized, that’s a beautiful thing.”
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