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25 Sep, 2019 16:10

Toy maker behind Barbie releases gender-neutral dolls

Toy maker behind Barbie releases gender-neutral dolls

Toy brand Mattel has launched a new line of dolls with gender-neutral clothes and hairstyles, saying that “kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms.”

Barbie, the impossibly trim plastic bimbo, has been through many iterations since she hit the shelves in 1959. Since then, she’s been an astronaut, a computer engineer, a presidential candidate, and a Marine Corps Sergeant. Even in the corps, her blond hair and perfect makeup have left little girls under no illusion as to her gender.

However, the toy maker behind Barbie has rolled out a new doll, more befitting our woke age. Mattel says its new ‘Creatable World’ range offers kids a doll that’s ‘free of labels,’ and comes with a gender-neutral wardrobe featuring both skirts and trousers, six skin tones, and a range of unisex hairstyles.

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“Kids don’t want their toys dictated by gender norms,” the company said in a press release. Instead of simply tossing in Action Man’s hand-me-downs, Mattel hired a pediatrician to make sure the dolls’ bodies are as androgynous as possible, and are impossible to place as male or female.

Mattel’s target customer includes kids who don’t consider themselves male or female too. In an ad for the new dolls, a gang of kids, some crossdressing, play with the figurines, as the company proudly boasts of “making play more inclusive than ever before.”

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But what’s the market? Apparently, the company is banking on Generation Alpha - kids born after 2010 - embracing gender-fluidity from an early age. Mattel has periodically updated its iconic Barbie range in keeping with the times too, from a fat Barbie in 2016 to a black Barbie in a wheelchair earlier this year.

Whether Action Man will lose his weapon collection and have the military pay for gender reassignment surgery next year remains to be seen.

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