A new gender-neutral line of dolls was launched on the 25th of September by Mattel. It’s called Creatable World™, and it’s a refreshingly unique style moving away from the traditional blonde Barbie doll, which most children can’t identify with. This revolutionary move shows how the company is tackling the problem of children not identifying with the traditional “blue” and “pink” toys associated with their gender. Children are being given the opportunity to see that blue and pink toys are not the only options available, and it educates them about different sexual orientations.
The company is one of the biggest American toy-manufacturing companies as it has produced other famous products, besides Barbie dolls, such as Monster High, Hot Wheels and WWE. We can see just from these other examples of products, that the launch of this new line of dolls shows how diverse and open-minded the company aims to be and, possibly, has become. It was quite a surprise to me that no other brand has ever thought of creating dolls which turned away from the traditional gender roles, as we’re living in a century of awareness and acceptance of the LGBTQ community. NBC News recently published an article confirming how 63% of millennials consider themselves allies of the LGBTQ community and how they are increasingly becoming part of it.
Fortunately, this open-mindedness isn’t only seen through this new line of dolls, but throughout the last year, there have been more outspoken views about gender inclusivity. For example, the Netflix series Queer Eye received a lot of attention when it was first released in February 2018. The TV series sheds light on issues the “Fab 5” faced as members of the LGBTQ community and how they overcame these and eventually integrated within our contemporary society. Furthermore, June 2018 was a highlight of how people are proud to celebrate this social diversity as there are yearly celebrations for Pride month. Perhaps the biggest and most famous of all pride parades was the one hosted in New York where celebrities like Madonna, Marc Jacobs and Jonathan Van Ness participated. Pride month is celebrated each year during June to remember the 1969 Stonewall Uprising where there were violent physical exchanges between the police and gay activists in front of a gay bar called Stonewall Inn, New York City.
It has been a long and tumultuous journey since those protests until this September when the gender-fluid line of dolls was released. It shows how female and male stereotypes are becoming less and less radicalised within our culture. This has given the worldwide audience the chance to feel proud and not fear of being judged by their sexual orientation. The new toys are advertised on Mattel’s official website as “designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in.” Therefore, encouraging a young mainstream audience to play with the dolls and combine wigs and clothes to create their unique individual style. Hopefully, this will lead not only girls playing with them but also boys who don’t necessarily identify with the muscly, brutish dolls usually associated with their gender. Interestingly enough, the same company who launched these new “limitless” dolls, also recently released the new WWE edition of Ghostbusters which instead reflects an old-fashioned perspective of the male body. Does Mattel really care about gender inclusivity, or does it simply want to attract attention to create more profit?
I, myself, am an optimistic person so, I hope that this new approach to attract a potential young LGBTQ audience leads other worldwide-famous companies to follow their example and promote gender inclusivity to audiences of all ages. Perhaps this will push the more cynical people to accept this as the ‘new normal’ and realise that we live in a society that’s beautifully diverse and where everyone should be accepted for who they truly are.
If you’re part of the LGBTQ community or want to know how to contribute to a fairer society, follow LGBT Foundation on Twitter. They provide helplines, guidance on how to donate, and how to participate in dedicated events.
Image credit: https://www.adweek.com/creativity/mattel-releases-line-of-gender-neutral-creatable-world-dolls/
Yasmine Moro Virion