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Barbie manufacturer Mattel launches line of 'gender inclusive' dolls 'free of labels'

'A collection like this just knocks down every barrier to play'

Sarah Young
Wednesday 25 September 2019 14:41 BST
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Mattel launches ‘gender inclusive’ range of dolls

Barbie manufacturer Mattel has launched a new line of “gender inclusivedolls that its creators say will enable all children to “express themselves freely”.

The "Creatable World" toys come with a number of different clothing options, accessories and hairstyles so that kids can style their doll with short or long tresses and dress them in a skirt, trousers or both.

The company said it has worked alongside a "dedicated team of experts, parents, physicians and most importantly, kids" to create the six different kits which come in a variety of skin tones.

Each pack includes one doll, two hairstyle options and "endless styling possibilities".

Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel's doll design, said the toys are a “reflection of culture” and that as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, Mattel felt “it was time to create a doll line free of labels”.

"Through research, we heard that kids don't want their toys dictated by gender norms," Culmone said.

"This line allows all kids to express themselves freely which is why it resonates so strongly with them.

“We're hopeful Creatable World will encourage people to think more broadly about how all kids can benefit from doll play.”

Cara Natterson, a US paediatrician who helped develop the toy, said she was asked to advise the manufacturer on what would be appropriate in terms of the size, proportions and physiology.

“A collection like this just knocks down every barrier to play,” Natterson said.

Creatable World kits will be sold in the UK at Amazon and Smyths Toys Superstores for an RRP of £34.99.

(Mattel)

While creating a toy that isn’t dictated by gender norms is new for Mattel, it has in recent years attempted to detach itself from the sexist stereotypes and unrealistic beauty expectations once associated with its best-known doll, Barbie.

The toy manufacturer has reacted to criticisms surrounding diversity with the launch of its Fashionista range that includes dolls in a range of body sizes and skin tones.

(Mattel)

The line-up also features dolls with physical disabilities, including one with a prosthetic limb and another that comes with a wheelchair.

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