Mattel just launched its first line of gender-inclusive dolls called Creatable World! They explain that “In our world, dolls are as limitless as the kids who play with them. Introducing Creatable World™, a doll line designed to keep labels out and invite everyone in—giving kids the freedom to create their own customizable characters again and again.” You start with a gender-neutral doll and get to choose the hair, short or long, then the clothes and finally the accessories. The doll clothes and accessories range from feminine to more masculine and are for all kids to play with, no matter their gender identity.
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The response to these dolls, of course, has been mixed. Too many people equate a child enjoying things that are traditionally considered for the other gender to be something that has to do with their sexuality. To me, it is simple. Just because you enjoy playing or wearing something that is outside of the traditional gender norm doesn’t mean anything more than that. More and more kids today are considering themselves to be gender fluid. A child can enjoy wearing dresses one day and baggy pants and t-shirts another and that is completely fine. These dolls look like all kids. They are inclusive of all children, regardless of race or hairstyle or clothing style. There is something for all kids in these kits! They are especially great for kids who like clothes or hairstyles that are not typical for their gender.
Breaking Down Gender Stereotypes
I believe that more parents are exposing and encouraging their children to think outside of gender stereotypes. We want our girls to believe they can be anything they want. We want our boys to be caring and sensitive. Girls do not have to wear dresses. Boys can play with dolls. With this, comes many children that would want a doll that reflects who they are. Not all girls only wear dresses and long hair. There are lots of little girls that like to wear their hair short and enjoy dressing in jeans and shark t-shirts! Girls aren’t all going around in heals, they like sneakers, sandals and combat boots too. Not all boys look like Ken dolls either and not all kids identify with a particular gender but someplace in the middle. These dolls include all children.
I feel this doll also encourages boys to play with dolls too. These dolls are great for them because they can be dressed up more masculine but are not your traditional Ken doll. They look more like a child. I have also seen these really cool Wonder Crew Superhero Buddy dolls that I think are great for all the little boys that would love a doll baby to cuddle with! I think my girls would even love them. How cool to get a matching superhero cape and mask so you and your doll can match! And I think they would think it was cool to have a boy doll among all the girl dolls! Then the girl dolls would all need superhero costumes too so I just haven’t wanted to go there yet!! Check them out here on Amazon.
Barbie and Ken dolls have come a long way. They are beginning to offer more STEM themed dolls and dolls of different ethnicities and body shapes. They are still not really reflective of a lot of kids though. These new dolls thankfully are more inclusive of our kids today that do not all fit into what gender roles were expected of my generation growing up. And that is awesome!
Just Let Kids Be Who They Are
I made the mistake of reading some of the negative comments today on people’s posts about these cool new dolls. Then I started reading up more on today’s gender identities, mostly to make sure I didn’t say anything that could be offensive in any way. I completely support whatever gender or lack of gender our kids want to identify with, I just never want to get too deep into that on this site. I want to keep it simple that girls can love anything boys love and the same goes for boys. Really, even simpler, all kids can love all things!! Kids like what they like and in a world where girls are not expected to get married young, tend to the house and raise children and nothing else, why would we expect them to only be interested in dressing their dolls up to impress boys in dresses and heels. We want our boys to grow up to help raise their children and be involved in running the home so why wouldn’t we want them playing with dolls? Girls can grow up to be scientists and CEO’s and boys can grow up to be stay at home dads or nurses why shouldn’t our dolls reflect that girls can have short hair and boys can wear more feminine clothing if they want!
As the World Changes So Do Our Gender Norms
The world is evolving and this scares some people so much. I feel there is such a fine line between gender norms and gender stereotypes and many people are more comfortable with girls taking on more masculine roles than with boys taking on more feminine roles. Thankfully I believe there are more people out there that see how amazing this new line is for all the children that never had a doll that they felt reflected who they are. I read all the comments from moms who have gender non-conforming little boys that they couldn’t wait to buy this doll for. And the moms who had boys who were older now that they felt that if they had this doll when they were younger it would’ve made such a difference and it really was very powerful how many don’t understand that these kids need to be represented in toys.
All Kids Need Dolls Like These
I read a great article by a woman who as a child was a complete tomboy and how she wished there was a Barbie doll then that had been like her. A girl who liked to play sports and get dirty but also play with dolls…she felt very uncomfortable with the frilly dress and high heel options that were all we had for Barbie. You can read it here.
It just reinforces how this doll is for all kids. Even if you are the girl that does wear dresses all the time, I think it is great to have dolls that reflect all of your friends and classmates. This includes different ethnicities, body shapes, interests and the kids who don’t dress like other kids of their gender. I want my girls to not even take a second glance at a boy wearing nail polish or a girl with short hair or a classmate who has 2 dads. I want them to just see other kids and other people.
These dolls are also a money saver! You can change them up to be several different characters. Or a boy one day when you want a boy doll and a girl one day when you want a girl doll. For some kids, that is all these dolls are, for others this doll finally gets them and represents them where most dolls never have.
Creating a Gentler and Kinder World
My girls are biracial and it breaks my heart that one day they may encounter people who have a problem with this. I want them to grow up in a world where everyone just sees people but until then we have to fight to break down gender stereotypes, racism, homophobia, and more. I think these gender-inclusive dolls are a great way to show kids they are normal just the way they are. And there are even 2 versions of this doll that could pass for biracial which is surprisingly hard to find.
So I really meant for this post to just be about these cool dolls that represent our girls that like to wear shark t-shirts but it turned into a bit more than that. I am just passionate about creating a world where all kids feel safe and accepted and the negative comments I read really seem so unnecessary. If you love these dolls as much as I do you can buy them at Target, Walmart, and Amazon. They are recommended for 6 and up so I will be adding them to LJ’s wish list in another year and a half!!
What do you think of these dolls? Do you have a child who would love these? Let me know in the comments below!
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