Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Barbie-maker Mattel releases new line of gender-neutral dolls

Screenshot: TIME (YouTube)

The toy aisles at most department stores used to be pretty well-designated between “girls’” (lots of dolls in pink packaging) and “boys’” (lots of cars and Legos). But those labels are changing as harmful stereotypes lessen and gender fluidity becomes more prevalent. Case in point: Mattel has released a new gender-neutral line of Creatable World dolls “designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in.”

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TIME reports that these dolls, which retail for $29.99, all resemble a “slender 7-year-old with short hair.” But each is accompanied with a wig with long hair and a versatile wardrobe “befitting any fashion-conscious kid: hoodies, sneakers, graphic T-shirts in soothing greens and yellows, along with tutus and camo pants.” There are also various accessories in a variety of styles, giving the kids myriad options to dress the dolls in whatever gender-inclusive manner they wish.

Mattel’s Kim Culmone tells TIME in the above video, “It’s important that kids of all different types can see themselves reflected in culture and media and especially the toys they play with.”

TIME points out that by creating these new dolls “with this overt nod to trans and nonbinary identities,” Mattel “is betting on where it thinks the country is going.” After all, Target eliminated its “boys” and “girls” toy sections in 2015; last year, Mattel also replaced its “boys” and “girls” toy divisions for nongendered sections like “dolls” and “cars.” These non-binary designations also reflect the new identity definitions of the younger generations; TIME reports that according to a recent marketing poll, “81 percent of Gen Z-ers believe that a person shouldn’t be defined by gender.”

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Gwen Ihnat

Gwen Ihnat is the Editorial Coordinator for The A.V. Club.