Mattel recently announced the launch of a new line of gender-neutral dolls. The business media brand Fast Company reported that Mattel “has just released a doll line that is almost the antithesis of the iconic [Barbie] doll.”
The new gender-neutral doll line is called “Creatable World. Fast Company stated, “the dolls don’t start out with any level of feminine or masculine characteristics. Instead, the dolls allow kids to customize their looks.”
Time provided more details on the doll’s features, revealing that each is designed to look “like a slender 7-year-old with short hair, but each comes with a wig… and a wardrobe befitting any fashion-conscious kids: Hoodies, sneakers” and “graphic T-shirts in soothing greens and yellows.” The dolls also come with the wardrobe options of “tutus and camo pants.”
Those are two extreme wardrobe options, Apparently though the doll company seems to think that the original Barbie is the extreme, referring to the world-famous doll company as “hyper-feminine.”
Mattel explained that the reason for the new doll line is to give children a “doll that most identifies with them, instead of having to buy a pre-made doll that could suggest that this is what a girl or boy is supposed to look like.”
Senior Vice President of Mattel’s Doll Design, Kim Culmone advocated for the new doll line, stating the gender-neutral dolls were a response to a shift in culture. She stated, “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.”
She added, “Through research, we heard that kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms.”
This is a highly improbable claim. Why do the creators of toy companies for children ranging from three to twelve years find it necessary to create a line of dolls specifically designated as ‘gender-neutral’? Supposed demand from the culture isn’t a sufficient reason. Kids want to do a variety of things that are often not the most beneficial for them, but just because a child wishes to do something doesn’t mean that we indulge them in that behavior. Young children might want to eat glue, or run out in a busy intersection, but that doesn’t mean they should be allowed to do so. Young children have very impressionable minds are open to learning new things, and introducing them to these ‘gender-neutral’ dolls will only confuse their young, impressionable minds. Mattel needs to stop sexualizing children.