Mattel has launched a new line of gender-inclusive dolls aimed at making all kids feel welcome during playtime, according to a news release from the company.
The Creatable World collection includes six dolls with a variety of skin tones and hair types. Each doll comes with different outfits, accessories, and hairstyles -- one shorter and one longer -- for kids to switch up their appearance.
“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,” says Kim Culmone, a senior vice president at the company.
The dolls represent a move away from toys that conform to strict “masculine” and “feminine” characteristics, which experts say can limit a child’s development and don’t reflect the gender identity of many kids.
By age 4, most kids have a good sense of their own gender identity, the American Academy of Pediatrics says. Still, it’s important for them to have the chance to explore different gender roles and styles of play.
“Young kids may try wearing different clothes as they develop, and that is often more common than we realize,” says Hansa Bhargava, MD, a pediatrician and senior medical director at WebMD. “What’s important, though, is creative play, and toys can help that.”
Mattel says it based the new dolls on research showing that kids don’t want toys strictly confined to gender norms.