Toymaker Mattel, the creator of Barbie, He-Man, and Hot Wheels, announced a new toy line that will include a gender neutral doll.  The new line called Creatable World will be released with six dolls with different skin tones, hair, and clothing.

In a press release, Senior Vice President of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, Kim Culmone said that this new doll is meant to allow children to be free to express themselves, something she claimed that through research was in demand by young customers:

“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.”

Culmone would go on to state that the company felt that the new line would encourage a greater deal of doll play: “We’re hopeful Creatable World will encourage people to think more broadly about how all kids can benefit from doll play.”

She added that the dolls were a reflection of today’s world:

“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.”

According to the company, they claimed they worked with a team of experts that ranged from parents to children and physicians as they created the Creatable World line. Time reports, “Mattel tested the doll with 250 families across seven states, including 15 children who identify as trans, gender-nonbinary or gender-fluid and rarely see themselves reflected in the media, let alone their playthings.”

Monica Dreger, head of consumer insights at Mattel stated, “There were a couple of gender-creative kids who told us that they dreaded Christmas Day because they knew whatever they got under the Christmas tree, it wasn’t made for them.” She added, “This is the first doll that you can find under the tree and see is for them because it can be for anyone.”

Time reports that during testing a number of parents believed the “toy pushed a political agenda, and some adults objected to the notion of their sons ever playing with dolls.”

One mom who tested the doll with their child in Los Angeles told them, “I don’t think my son should be playing with dolls. There’s a difference between a girl with a truck and a boy with a Barbie, and a boy with a Barbie is a no-no.”

The only Dad in the group stated, “I don’t know. My daughter is friends with a boy who wears dresses. I used to be against that type of thing, but now I’m O.K. with it.”

One mom even stated, “It’s just too much. Can’t we go back to 1970?”

Mattel’s President Richard Dickson attempted to address those concerns in a statement:

“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.”

However, Dickson would the company is embracing social justice, “I think being a company today, you have to have a combination of social justice along with commerce, and that balance can be tricky. Not everyone will appreciate you or agree with you.”

The Creatable World line will launch exclusively online at first. Time reports Mattel will give “sneak previews to select influencers and leaders in the LGBTQ+ community.”

It will be made available at major retailers both online and at stores. Amazon, Target, and Walmart will all carry the new line of dolls. Each doll will retail for a suggested price of $30.

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