Mattel, the maker of Barbie, debuts first-ever gender-neutral doll originally appeared on goodmorningamerica.com
For the first time, Mattel, the maker of Barbie, has unveiled a gender-fluid doll that keeps "labels out."
On Wednesday, the brand announced the launch of Creatable World — a customizable doll kit allowing kids to create their own toys. The kit includes one doll, two hairstyles and different outfits.
“Toys are a reflection of culture and as the world continues to celebrate the positive impact of inclusivity, we felt it was time to create a doll line free of labels,” Kim Culmone, senior vice president of Mattel Fashion Doll Design, said in a press release.
Culmone said Mattel's research found that kids did not want their toys dictated "by gender norms."
"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," she said.
This isn't the first time Mattel has aimed for inclusivity. In February, the American toy company announced it's adding dolls with braided hair texture, a new body type and Barbies that reflect permanent physical disabilities.
"Mattel’s new line of gender inclusive dolls encourages children to be their authentic selves and is the latest sign that toys and media aimed at kids are expanding to reflect how diverse children and their families actually are," Rich Ferraro, GLAAD’s chief communications officer, told "GMA." "So many children and parents never saw themselves represented in toys and dolls, but this new line raises the bar for inclusion thanks to input from parents, physicians and children themselves."
Dr. Stephanie Samar, a clinical psychologist at the Mood Disorders Center of the Child Mind Institute, said Mattel's gender-neutral dolls are part of a "positive movement" in setting the tone for toymakers to be more inclusive.
"It's helping provide options to those who don't feel entirely connected. This is important with race and ethnicity and these dolls seems to have this [element] as well, not just the gender piece," Samar told "GMA." "Having a doll that feels more connected to their identity can help build more self esteem."
Samar said doll play builds communication skills, empathy and compassion.
"Dolls that are diverse and representative of these kids' identities can help build these skills, so they're not [only] empathizing with this singular person, but with more diverse backgrounds," she added.
The Creatable World kit, priced at $30, also includes accessories and wigs to style the doll with short or long hair. Each box comes with both a skirt and pants.
Major retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart are now carrying the line.