Parenting

Mattel Unveils 'Creatable World' Line Of Gender-Neutral Dolls

The toy manufacturer said it aims "to keep labels out and invite everyone in" with the dolls, which feature both male- and female-presenting clothing and accessories.

The toy company behind Barbie and Hot Wheels hopes to raise the bar for inclusion with a line of gender-neutral dolls.

On Wednesday, Mattel unveiled Creatable World, a doll line manufacturers describe as having been designed “to keep labels out and invite everyone in.” Each of the dolls, which retail for $29.99, comes with short hair and long hair wigs, six items of clothing, three pairs of shoes and two accessories that are both male- and female-presenting.

The various options can be mixed up to create dozens of different looks.

Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel fashion doll design, said the company aimed to “celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity” with the new line.

“Through research, we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms,” Culmone said in a statement on Mattel’s website. “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 added.

In a New York Times interview published Wednesday, Culmone expanded on Mattel’s creative process with the line. The company worked with physicians and experts focused on gender identity as well as 250 families with children of all gender identities across the U.S. over a period of about 18 months.

Researchers soon concluded that “kids didn’t want to be told that boys had to play with cars and girls had to play with dolls,” she said.

Mattel spokesperson Michelle Chidoni echoed those sentiments and stressed that, unlike Barbie, Creatable World dolls are intended to be “relatable” as opposed to “aspirational.”

GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis told HuffPost in an email that the line is “the latest sign that toys and media aimed at kids are expanding to reflect how diverse children and their families actually are.”

Other LGBTQ advocacy groups felt similarly.

Though the Creatable World dolls are a first for Mattel, the company has been making progressive strides in recent years, particularly with Barbie, who turned 60 in March.

In 2016, Barbie expanded its brand to include curvy, tall and petite dolls. The following year, two photos posted to the doll’s official Instagram page showed her wearing a “Love Wins” T-shirt in an apparent endorsement of marriage equality.