Mattel Has Created The World's First Gender-Neutral Doll
Forget Barbie and Ken -- it looks like the world's first gender-neutral doll is here.
The Creatable World doll can be male, female, neither or both. Its androgynous (and prepubescent) features means it doesn't have the famous hour-glass figure of Barbie, or the broad shoulders of Ken, but instead comes with a variety of accessories to change its gender presentation.
It's "designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in", according to creator Mattel, "making play more inclusive than ever before".
According to a report in TIME, the doll was tested with 250 families across seven American states, including 15 children who identified as trans, gender-nonbinary, or gender-fluid.
“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,” Monica Dreger, head of consumer insights at Mattel, told TIME.
“This is the first doll that you can find under the tree and see is for them because it can be for anyone.”
Children's toy manufacturers have been moving away from a traditional 'pink and dolls are for girls, blue and trucks are for boys' binary for some time, but this is believed to be the world's first gender-neutral doll.
In 2015, Target stores in the US announced gender-neutral toy aisles, while Mattel and Hasbro are no longer marketing explicitly to girls or boys. At least one study has shown that when toys aren't 'designated' for boys or girls, kids tend to play with similar toys.
Mattel's President Richard Dickson told TIME the Creatable World doll was about helping young kids who might feel constricted by playing with 'girl' or 'boy' toys to have the freedom to do whatever they liked.
"And 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 recognised, that’s a beautiful thing," he said.